Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had stated yesterday that he is the greatest environmentalist and the protesters should meet him if it is really the environment they worry about. Taksim Solidarity Platform, that consists of representatives of about 80 groups that are involved in the demonstrations, discussed the Prime Minister's 'offer' today.
Some are committed to meeting the prime minister. But a large part of the platform stated that the demands of the movement have already been reported to deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç and the mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbaş. Erdogan emphasised yesterday that he and his government were open for any sort of democratic demands, but not to such demands as the resignation of the mayor, the governor or the interior minister. He compared such demands with the demands of janissaries in the Ottoman Empire to change key governors or sometimes even sultans.
It seems as if there is a gap between the demands which the prime minister is willing to listen to and those of the Solidarity Platform.
The demands of the latter are, to recall:
- Gezi Park should remain as park. The government should officially announce that the project to rebuild the area is stopped and guarantee that neither historical military barracks, nor any other construction will be built.
- The attempts and projects to demolish the Atatürk Kültür Merkezi should be stopped immediately.
- Those responsible for the violent prevention of demonstrations, use of excessive force by the police, injuries of thousands of people and for the death of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş and Abdullah Cömert who were using their basic democratic rights to protest, particularly the governors and the chiefs of police of Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay should be removed from office.
- The use of gas bombs and similar means should be prohibited.
- Citizens who have been taken into custody because they used their right to protest should be freed immeditaely. The government should guarantee that there will be no investigation.
- The prohibition of meetings and demonstrations particularly in Taksim and Kızılay Squares that are at the same tame official squares for May Day demonstrations, and in all other public squares, and constraints to freedom of speech should be abolished.