Everyone who enters Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the heart of nearly 20-day-long protests against the government, will be considered a member or a supporter of a terrorist organization, Turkey’s European Union minister said in a televised interview late last night.
“I request our citizens who supported the protests until today kindly to return to their homes,” Egemen Bağış said in an interview on broadcaster A Haber.
“From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization,” he said. “Our prime minister has already assured [activists] about their aim with the protests. The protests from now on will play into the hands of some separatist organizations that want to break the peace and prioritize vandalism and terrorism.”
High-ranking Turkish officials have been posting warnings on the issue and everyone should act in a sensitive manner, he said.
Clashes between the police and protesters in Istanbul continued around the square along with some other parts of the city until this morning.
Bağış repeated his criticism of foreign media for exaggerating the protests in Turkey.
“Unfortunately, the foreign press has made a big mistake on this issue,” he said, saying that they wanted to reflect Turkey as a country where life has halted.
“Hours-long broadcasting that is even not interrupted by commercials has damaged Turkey’s image,” he said.
“But these long broadcasts surely have a financial reason, and this will be revealed. International channels such as BBC and CNN never do such broadcasting without any advertisement. Somebody somehow financed these broadcasts. Like our prime minister said, the losses of the interest rate lobby due to low interest rates have exceeded $650 billion in Turkey,” he said, adding that this was a result of the government’s dedication. “This drives them crazy and they are doing everything to disturb the calm in our country and win back their losses.”