By Manolis Kostidis – Istanbul
The number of people standing still in silent protest continues to grow as hundreds of Turkish citizens in various parts of the country join in to voice their resistance to the Erdogan government and police violence against peaceful protestors. It is a form of protest which a Turkish man started on Monday in Taksim Square.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc gave a nod of approval to this new form of peaceful resistance. Arinc stated it “was a peaceful way to protest which we could not condemn”.
Turkish citizens try to organize a common protest each night at eight where they silently stand still. Thousands of pictures from alover Turkey have filled the internet.
A referendum may be held in Istanbul over the project to replace Taksim Gezi Park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks, said Deputy Chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Huseyin Celik. The government will wait for a court decision over the construction. If the court rules in favor of the construction, a referendum will go ahead, Celik said. He also noted 116 police vehicles and 41 ambulances were destroyed during the riots in recent days.
POLICE TRANSFER ORDERS CANCELLED
The Turkish government is concerned clashes will continue. This is considered the reason behind a decision to cancel transfer orders for 2.200 police officers that were planned to go ahead. They were postponed until 2014, essentially until the situation on the streets of Istanbul clears up.
However, in Ankara and Eskisehir hundreds of young people clashed with police trying to prevent their peaceful marches. Street clashes continued until the early hours of Tuesday.
US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, who met with Erdogan’s advisor Yalcin Akdogan at the Justice & Development Party headquarters, stressed “the US trust the Turkish Republic. As the United States of America we value this friendly country”.
ERDOGAN PREPARES GAZA VISIT
Meanwhile, Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems ready to visit Gaza as he met Tuesday night with Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The two Palestinian discussed the situation in Syria with Erdogan but the key issue was the Turkish PM’s visit to Gaza.
The Turkish Prime Minister has announced he plans to visit Gaza during June despite objection by the U.S. and Israel. The visit was originally planned for late May.