President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that those who praise the 2013 Gezi Park protests are supporters of terror groups like PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Addressing the 43rd mukhtars meeting at the presidential complex, Erdogan said: “Gezi means to stand against all those efforts and projects to develop and take Turkey a step further.”
In the summer of 2013, a relatively small demonstration in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead.
The government later said the demonstrations were an attempt to overthrow it by FETO members who had infiltrated the the police and courts.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016 which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Speaking about a European Court of Human Rights ruling demanding the release of Selahattin Demirtas, jailed former co-chairman of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Erdogan said: “Those terrorists will direct not only their hatred but also their guns to you when you harm their interests.”
“Have you ever heard about any statement from any EU body on this individual who provoked the death of 50 innocent civilians through his statements on Oct. 6-8?” he added.
The civilians were killed during clashes called by Demirtas on Oct. 6-8, 2014.
“We can never take it seriously when countries support PKK, recognized as a terror group by the EU, the murderer of tens of thousands of people — from newborn babies to 80-year-olds.”
Erdogan slammed the countries supporting FETO, saying: “Countries which treat FETO respectfully, should not lecture on democracy.”