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Protesters are Part of Conspiracy Against Government

Turkey's prime minister says the recent protests in his country are part of a conspiracy against the government.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday the demonstrations are a deliberate attempt to damage Turkey's image and economy. Mr. Erdogan says the protesters are "trying to prevent Turkey's rise." He says the demonstrators were being used by financial institutions and media groups to harm Turkey's economy.

Earlier Tuesday, hundreds of Turkish police in riot gear entered Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing tear gas and a water cannon at a small number of anti-government protesters.

Some demonstrators threw stones, fireworks and firebombs at police. Police removed protesters' banners from a building overlooking the square, replacing them with a Turkish flag.

The police move came after Mr. Erdogan agreed to meet with the anti-government protesters Wednesday.



On Monday, protesters refused to back down when police began using tear gas and water cannons to break up an anti-government march in Istanbul. Demonstrators responded with rocks and gasoline bombs.

Three people have died since the marches began almost two weeks ago. Thousands have been hurt and thousands of others arrested.

The opposition party accuses Mr. Erdogan of fueling tensions and dragging the country into fire.

The protests started against plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul. They have since turned into protests against what marchers call the prime minister's imposition of his Islamist views on a secular nation.

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