Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), of manipulating this week’s protests in Istanbul.
In a speech at Turkey’s Exporter’s Assembly, Erdogan issued a warning to CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu not to use “provocative words” in his upcoming speech in the city.
Erdogan also vowed to press on with plans to build on Gezi Park in Taksim Square, which has sparked days of demonstrations. Erdogan said he would not give in to “wild extremists.”
The Turkish premier pleaded with the demonstrators to pack up and leave, describing the movement as “ideological” rather than “environmental.”
Erdogan addressed the issue of police conduct during the protests, saying: “Despite provocations by illegal organisations, despite the damage done to local shops, despite attacks with stones and petrol bombs, the police retain the authority vested in them.”
“But as I said before I have given orders to the interior minister and to the governor, that necessary steps will be taken if excessive force is used,” he continued.
Erdogan admitted mistakes may have been made in the use of tear gas.
The governor of Istanbul has already reported 63 arrests with 12 injuries, one of them serious.