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Thousands Welcome Back Turkish PM, Protests Continue

Thousands of Turks packed Istanbul's airport to welcome back Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan while thousands of others continue their anti-government protests.

Mr. Erdogan, who has been visiting North Africa all week, again dismissed the demonstrators as "walking hand-in-hand with terrorists." He blames the violence that broke out during the demonstrations as being fueled by extremists and foreign agitators.

Protesters marched again Thursday in Istanbul and Ankara, demanding Mr. Erdogan resign. They accuse him of imposing his conservative Islamic views on a secular nation.

The protests were sparked last week by government plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul for new construction. The prime minister has so far refused to scrap those plans.

Police have used tear gas and water cannons on the marchers. At least two people have been killed, thousands hurt, and thousands of others arrested.

The government earlier apologized for the use of force. The protesters are demanding freedom for all those who have been jailed.

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