Protesters who return to Taksim are terrorist supporters -- Turkish minister
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Activists returning to Taksim Square will be considered "supporters or members of a terror group," Turkey's EU minister told local media. This comes after police bulldozed the tent camp in Gezi Park in one of the worst nights of violence in Istanbul.
"From now on the state will unfortunately have to consider everyone who remains there a supporter or member of a terror organization," EU Minister Egemen Gagis said in an interview with Turkish broadcaster AHaber on Saturday night. He requested that all the activists returned to their homes.
"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," stressed Gagis.
PM Tayyip Erdogan, who has been the target for many of the complaints of the protesters, appeared to take a more compromising approach to the demonstrators on Saturday. He agreed to postpone the reconstruction plans for Gezi Park (located beside Taksim Square) that initially riled activists.
However, later in the evening he announced in a speech to his supporters in the Justice and Development Party (AK) that all the protesters must be "evacuated."
What followed was reported by many to have been one of the most violent nights since the unrest began two weeks ago. Riot police moved into the Square taking on half an hour to disperse the activists gathered there, using tear gas and carrying riot shields.