News / Europe

Police, Protesters Clash as Turkey Protests Continue

VOA News
Police in Turkey have used tear gas and water cannons on protesters who continue to gather to speak out against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protests that began last Friday persist with calls for Erdogan to resign, as critics accuse him of governing with an authoritarian style and imposing his Islamic views on a secular nation.

The latest clashes happened Wednesday in Istanbul and Ankara with police in riot gear confronting demonstrators, some of whom responded by throwing stones.

Turkish leaders have tried to calm the situation, while the country's allies urged both authorities and protesters to keep the assemblies peaceful.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said late Tuesday the violence has raised concerns around the world, and that only Turks can solve the underlying problems.

He highlighted U.S. support for the freedom of assembly and the press, and said the most powerful countries will be the ones with open societies and political systems.

Earlier Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said it was wrong to use "excessive force" against demonstrators, and the government has "learned its lesson." But he refused to apologize to those he says have destroyed property and interfered with people's freedom.

Two people have died and hundreds of police and civilians have been injured since the protests began as a sit-in against plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul.

Erdogan has dismissed the protests as bitterness by the opposition over lost elections. He said the protesters are walking arm-in-arm with terrorists and that they have no support among most Turks.

  • Riot police officers gather in central Ankara, Turkey, June 10, 2013.
  • An anti-government protester gestures during a demonstration in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters remove bricks from a sidewalk to build a barricade in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Riot police chase protesters at Kizilay Square in central Ankara, June 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan listen to his speech at the Ankara airport, June 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cheer upon his arrival at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, June 7, 2013.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters after arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, June 7, 2013.
  • Pedestrians walk among tents set up by protesters in Gezi park, Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 6, 2013.
  • People observe a destroyed urban bus with a destination sign that reads ''This bus goes to Dictator'' at Taksim Square, Istanbul, June 6, 2013.
  • Thousands of protesters gather for another rally at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, June 3, 2013.
  • Protesters carry the Turkish flag and shout anti-government slogans during a demonstration at Gezi Park near Taksim Squar, Istanbul, June 3, 2013.

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