Tension Coming to a Head Between Istanbul Protesters, PM Erdogan
Anti-government protests in Istanbul that have been raging for nearly two weeks are coming to a head after the country's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sent a message to the protesters, saying in essence, get out ... or else. The ultimatum came just one day after it seemed that a possible olive branch was being extended from the ruling party.
Fox News correspondent Leland Vittert reported live from Istanbul, giving background on the highly-charged protests, which he says all started over the prime minister's intention to turn the city's main park into a mall. Now, activists are streaming not only to the park but to 70 other locations throughout Turkey to protest much more than a building permit or intended construction.
They're fighting the policies of a leader who they say has gone from being a democratically-elected governor to an authoritarian dictator bent on turning Turkey into an Islamic state. Erdoğan has made efforts to pass laws enforcing extreme rules on everything from kissing to alcohol consumption to women's rights.
"Many of the city's young professionals are coming every night after work to protest, [and they're] coming well prepared," Vittert said, even as volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets could be heard in the background, the methods used by police to clear out protesters.
As for how those in opposition fight back? They don't have weapons, aside from gravel and rocks and broken up pieces of cement, Vittert said, and all they have for protection are safety goggles and gas masks.
Stay tuned to Fox News for more developments from the Middle East as tensions continue to boil.