Dec 12, 2013
Turkey Sees Third Straight Day of Political Clashes
Posted on Jun 2, 2013
Two days of violent encounters between Turkish police and demonstrators turned to three Sunday. Thousands of protesters kept control of Istanbul’s main square as the country’s prime minister vowed to move forward with the controversial development plan that provoked the clashes.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the demonstrators an “extremist fringe” and blamed the opposition Republican People’s Party for inciting the protests.
“We think that the main opposition party, which is making resistance calls on every street, is provoking these protests,” Erdogan said on Turkish television. Meanwhile, an estimated 10,000 protesters again covered the city’s main square with flags and filled the air with calls for Erdogan to resign.
The demonstrations began May 27 as a relatively small, peaceful event aimed at saving an inner city park from being turned into an Ottoman-style shopping center. The action rapidly developed into the largest and most violent anti-government protests Turkey has seen in years.
Hundreds have been injured by the aggressive police response and immoderate use of teargas. Riot police gave a victory to the demonstrators when they withdrew from the city Saturday evening. Some people were badly injured.
Erdogan has refused without apology to back off of the development project.
“I am not going to seek the permission of [the opposition] or a handful of plunderers,” he said. “If they call someone who has served the people a ‘dictator’, I have nothing to say. My only concern has been to serve my country … I am not the master of the people. Dictatorship does not run in my blood or in my character. I am the servant of the people.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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