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Turkey Erupts in Rage: Anti-Government Protests Spread to 60 Cities

The unrest in Istanbul was sparked by a government plan to demolish a park in Taksim Square.

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NAZAN ÜSTÜNDAĞ: Mm-hmm. Well, I really don’t—things like this, you know, are unpredictable. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Four demands have been pronounced. One of them is the banning of the tear gas, actually. The other is the release of people who have been arrested, and then, of course, the stopping of the mall project at Gezi Park. And there was one more that I can’t remember right now. So, there are four demands. And until these four demands are met, we are not going to leave this place. But this—I’m not sure that the police—at some point, the police will try to enter, and so the whole thing can start again. Actually, at night, there are other districts where people demonstrate, and when they demonstrate, the police arrive there. And there been—yesterday, actually, one person died because he was—I mean, he was actually run by a car during the demonstrations, during the fight against the police. So, the police did not kill him, but it was during the demonstration. So, we don’t really know how long—whether these demands will be met.

But the good news—and I would like to share this now to you, as well—there have been—unions are calling for a general strike, so the whole thing will take another form once the strike starts. And this will bring in new demands, once the workers join in. So, we are trying to—what we are expecting, I can—I think I can say this, for all of us who are here, to hear, once in this 10 years, the truth coming out through the lips of the president, saying something truthful, saying, you know, he has done something wrong, saying that people are protesting against him, saying that he has been pressuring the media to not to speak, not to give any news, saying that he has been—he hasn’t been doing the constitution that we have all been expecting for the last 10 years, saying that these renovation projects are oppressive, totalitarian projects, saying at least one of these, saying once in his lifetime something truthful. That’s all we are expecting.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re talking about the president responding to this. The prime minister, Erdoğan himself, has just left, is that right? He was speaking to reporters before he began a four-day trip to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

NAZAN ÜSTÜNDAĞ: Right, yeah. I mean, I meant the prime minister. Sorry for saying "the president." I meant the prime minister. Yes, he has left. And that’s exactly what he has done during the hunger strikes, too. He has—that’s what he does. He just leaves the country and hopes for the best. And then, when he comes back and the best has not happened, so then he makes a concession, but pretending as if he doesn’t make the concession. But I don’t think this time concession will be enough.

AMY GOODMAN: And the number you estimate, Nazan, of dead in the protests?

NAZAN ÜSTÜNDAĞ: There hasn’t—I mean, I can’t—I can only tell you what the association of doctors is saying, and they are saying there hasn’t—there has been only one death due to police violence, and that has happened in Ankara. There are very, very badly wounded people, some of them in coma, but there has been only one dead until now. Thousands of people are injured. And a lot of people have lost their eyes because of the—I don’t know how you call it in English, these bullets that are not real, but—

AMY GOODMAN: Rubber bullets.

NAZAN ÜSTÜNDAĞ: Yeah, when they come to your eye, your eye gets—comes out. And a lot of people—as far as I know, 12 people have lost their eye.

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