Skip to main content

Turkish police disperse environmentalists in Istanbul

By Gul Tuysuz, CNN
updated 4:04 PM EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
Protesters holding small trees walk towards Turkish police and an excavator on October 21, 2013.
Protesters holding small trees walk towards Turkish police and an excavator on October 21, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Demonstrators in Istanbul protest construction of a road through a forest in Ankara
  • Police use their shields and water cannons to clear Istanbul's main commercial street
  • Prime Minister: "For a road, everything can be sacrificed, because a road is civilization"

Istanbul (CNN) -- Police used water cannons to disperse hundreds of demonstrators gathered Tuesday in Istanbul's main commercial street to protest the building of a road through a university forest in the Turkish capital city of Ankara.

Protesters gathered in Istiklal Street and chanted anti-government slogans such as, "This is just the beginning, the resistance will continue," "A thousand greetings to the resistance," "Killer police will pay," and "Police go away, these streets are ours."

The new round of protests in Istanbul erupted after the Ankara Municipality began cutting trees Friday in the Middle Eastern Technical University forest to make way for a highway development project.

Police used their shields and water cannons to clear the main part of Istiklal Street, pushing protesters into side streets.

"This is not a designated meeting area. Please clear the street," the police announced over loudspeakers. One protester was knocked to the ground by a water cannon and lost consciousness for several minutes.

"In a bit they will start rounding up people. There is no law left in the country," said a lawyer from the Istanbul Bar Association on standby in case of detentions.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech delivered in parliament that the construction of the road would go on and criticized the demonstrators.

"For a road, everything can be sacrificed, because a road is civilization. But those who are not civilized will not understand the value of a road. They don't know it," he said.

The ruling Justice and Development Party has come under criticism for its large-scale development projects. In May, widespread protests swept through Turkey over plans to turn a central Istanbul park into a shopping mall.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
updated 9:30 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
updated 8:01 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
updated 10:44 AM EDT, Sat September 20, 2014
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT