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article imageTurkish opposition leader calls Erdogan 'Provocateur #1' Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Jun 12, 2013 in World
Istanbul - As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows revenge against freedom protesters, one opposition leader calls Erdogan "the Number One Provocateur."
The problem with Turkey's government is that there are many political parties that cannot seem to unite against the ruling party. Once a party comes into power, it can do what it wants. This is one reason why Prime Minister Erdogan has not listened to the Gezi Park protesters or given them anything they asked for. He continues to stick to his plan to turn the park into an Ottoman-era army museum and mosque.
In fact, as protests continue, police continue to fight back with tear gas, water canons, rubber bullets, and even tank-like attack vehicles. Helicopters often fly overhead, making a protest look like a war zone.
And Erdogan continues to give fiery speeches to the 50% of Turkey who are members of his ruling Ak Party (AKP). Yesterday, he yelled,
"We will not only terminate these incidents, we will be on these terrosists' back in the frame of law. No one will get away with what they did!" He added ominously, "This will be over in 24 hours."
The Prime Minister followed through with his threats by arresting almost 60 Istanbul lawyers who were providing legal representation to protesters, thus further endangering democracy in Turkey. Today, more than 2,000 lawyers staged a massive protest inside Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, chanting, "Everywhere Taksim!" They were especially upset that the police had handcuffed the lawyers and dragged them across the ground.
"How can Erdogan treat lawyers like this? It shows no respect for the law," one protester observed.
Erdogan still sees the protesters as part of plot against the AKP by internal and external groups that want to hurt the Turkish economy. He even went as far as to accuse protesters of entering a mosque with their shoes on and holding bottles of beer. This accusation has been decried by Erdogan's political opponents and even denied by the mosque's muezzin (overseer).
"We wonder how much more the Prime Minister will provoke the hostilities, will deepen this polarization," MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) head Develet Bahçeli stated.
"This is not the way to end even a fight in the neighborhood. These are the mayors of wartime. No peace can come out of these," said BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
A protestor facing tear gas in Istanbul
A protestor facing tear gas in Istanbul
Flickr user Eser Karadağ
"What is your benefit from dividing this country? You provoke (people). You are the Number One Provocateur," declared main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People's Party (CHP). The CHP was Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's party (Atatürk founded the secular democratic Turkish Republic in 1923).
Kılıçdaroğlu went so far as to call Erdogan a "liar" regarding the accusation of beer taken into a mosque. He even read evidence to back up his words.
The Istanbul spokesman for Amnesty International issued a statement on CNN last night, saying that the police brutality against the Turkish people must stop and that he held Erdogan "personally responsible" for the current repressions and escalating police violence.
Some violence broke out among some protesters yesterday, who squared off with police using firecrackers and molotov cocktails, but these were not the usual people in Taksim Square and nearby Gezi Park. Some say these people were even sent by Erdogan to make the protesters look like the "mauraders" and "terrorists" he is calling them. Even the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) decried these violent protesters as not being part of their organization.
With AKP rallies called by Erdogan for this weekend and plans by protesters to continue lifting their voices in Gezi Park, events in Turkey are heating up.
"We are tired of being afraid," one protester told me. "So many journalists, writers, and academics have ended up in prison for speaking out against Erdogan. He even condemned a musician of 'blasphemy' for some anti-religious tweets. Erdogan is acting like a dictator and denying us our basic human rights. He wants absolute power. Therefore, he must resign."
"We have walked across the line. We are no longer keeping silent. We cannot go back to a repressive Turkey," another protester declared.
Erdogan is scheduled to meet with an 11-member delegation of Gezi Park protesters today. We will see if he listens to them.
"Erdogan keeps saying how the protests are hurting the Turkish economy," a student protester stated. "I ask him which is more important: money or freedom. After all, he bought a lot of votes by giving away refrigerators and iPads. So many AKP people are rich. Erdogan needs to listen to us poor university students. We are the future."
Police battle protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul
Police battle protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul
Turkish Protests News
Protesters march through the Taksim district in Istanbul  near Gezi Park
Protesters march through the Taksim district in Istanbul, near Gezi Park
Turkish Protests News
Protesters wave flags inside Gezi Park
Protesters wave flags inside Gezi Park
Turkish Protests News
Lawyers protest the arrest of their fellow lawyers in Istanbul
Lawyers protest the arrest of their fellow lawyers in Istanbul
Turkish Protests News
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