President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again targeted the Gezi Park protestors, this time holding them responsible for Turkey's current economic turmoil.
"Turkey would have been at a much better place [now] having [annual] national income of 1.5 trillion dollars if it was not for the betrayals that started with Gezi incidents. These betrayals made our country pay a heavy price through the evil triangle of exchange rate, interest and inflation," Erdoğan said on June 4 during a party meeting in the capital Ankara.
"We increased the country's national income from 235 billion dollars and brought it up to the level of 1 trillion dollars [today]," Erdoğan said.
According to the World Bank data, Turkey's gross national income peaked to 975 billion dollars in 2014 and declined to 763 billion dollars in 2020.
Erdoğan's speech came after he called Gezi Park protesters "sluts" earlier this week. “They [Gezi Park protestors] are rotten to the core, they are sluts,” Erdoğan said on June 1 in remarks which soon became a trending topic on Twitter, facing a severe backlash among citizens.
Erdoğan on June 4 continued to defend using the remark of "slut" for protesters and said that he had "spoken in the language of our nation."
"We use the same adjectives as how our nation describes [Gezi protests]. We will not hesitate to call vandals as the vandal, marauders as the marauder. Those who attempt to teach us morality, decency and humility: You go look at the mirror," Erdoğan said.
Gezi Park protests initially began in Istanbul in May 2013 as a reaction to renovation plans of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which aimed to construct a replica Ottoman barracks on the city's few remaining green spots. The protests later grew into nationwide protests and spread to other cities.