Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu’s press statement – made on the evening of 8th July- where he explains why the Gezi Park has been closed, only hours after being opened to the public. Meanwhile, protesters that were gathering in Taksim to enter the park are dispersed around greater Taksim, fleeing from tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.
“We will never allow for the people’s square, the people’s property, this people’s land, that is, Gezi Park and Taksim Square, to become a space where a group of marginals, yes my friends, a group of marginals can settle. A lot has been lived, Gezi park has been opened with its green grass and plants, for use by the public. We cannot allow the attitude that consists of, ‘I will use this space’ not the people’.”
“The pains suffered by the local artisans, the pains that the citizens have suffered, traffic, blocked transportation, underground lines that had to be closed, all of this is torturing the citizens of Istanbul. At this point, we want Istanbul to be released from this torture. We are struggling for this goal. But the menetality of ‘I will perpetuate this torture upon the Taksim inhabitants’ persists. Gezi Park is open my friends, but, its open to those that don’t want to protest. If you say, ‘I want to demonstrate’, that is not the purpose of the park. There are protest grounds, for example we allowed the protest in Kadıköy the other day, ok? They came to me, showed me the route and I said ok. There are other grounds aswell. But grounds that the laws allow.”
“But if you say, ‘I don’t recognise the law, I will protest where ever I want’, the law will not recognise this. Through such methods, you will not get what you want, let me say that openly. There is no point trying to wrestle with the 76 million large Turkish people. There is no point in trying to overturn this country’s legal system. The law will not give you the chance to occupy Gezi Park or Istiklal Square.”
“I invite all to adhere to this country’s laws and to not attempt to occupy public spaces. We are now entering the month of Ramadan. We trust in the people’s good sense to not bother the solidarity and brotherhood of the nation at this important time. There is no division above our solidarity as brothers and sisters. Without differentiating between religious belief, political or philosophic belief, ethnicity, sectarian differences or gender, all citizens of this land are brothers and sisters. But we will not give the opportunity to one group that does not act within the confines of the law.”