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Turkey Park Unrest:PM Erdogan return and call “immediate end” nationwide protests / Turkey News


Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for an end to anti-government protests that have swept the country after he returned from an overseas trip.

Speaking in front of thousands of supporters who greeted him at Istanbul airport, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “These protests that are bordering on illegality must come to an end immediately.”

He added that the demonstrations had “lost their democratic credentials and turned into vandalism”.

Protests sparked by opposition to a controversial building project in Istanbul’s Taksim Square have swept the country in the past week.

The demonstrations have attracted tens of thousands of people from all walks of life who criticise Mr Erdogan for what they say is an increasingly arrogant and autocratic nature – charges he rejects.

Mr Erdogan thanked his supporters for their calm and urged them to “go home”.

Earlier, his supporters were urged not to welcome him on his return home from a four-day trip to north Africa.

Speaking after thousands of angry demonstrators had called for the PM’s resignation, deputy leader of the ruling party, Huseyin Celik, said: “The prime minister does not need a show of power.”

When Mr Erdogan flew out of Turkey on Monday he dismissed the protests, saying they would have died down before he returned.


However, they continued, with police on Wednesday evening using tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators in Ankara’s central Kizilay Square.

A policeman in the southern city of Adana died after falling into an underpass while trying to subdue continued protests.

The situation was quieter in Istanbul, for the first time since the unrest began last Friday.

Two other people have been killed in the seven days of unrest, according to doctors and officials, who say more than 4,000 people were injured, 43 of them seriously, as police used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon to break up the protests.

It was a heavy-handed police response to a peaceful demonstration in Istanbul that sparked nationwide anti-government protests denouncing Mr Erdogan, who has been in power since 2002.

He has been accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian and seeking to force conservative Islamic values on Turkey, a mainly Muslim but constitutionally secular nation.

The Turkish government, while acknowledging some police excesses, has defended its handling of the crisis, insisting: “Turkey is not a second-class democracy.”

Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern in recent days over the police violence.

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