News / Middle East

    Turkish PM Returns Home to Protests Asking for His Resignation

    Protesters shout slogans during a protest in Taksim square of Istanbul, June 5 2013.
    Protesters shout slogans during a protest in Taksim square of Istanbul, June 5 2013.
    VOA News
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan returns to his country Thursday, after spending several days in North Africa as protesters at home called for his resignation.

    Government plans to redevelop a park in Istanbul sparked the protests last Friday that have turned into demonstrations against Erdogan. Critics accuse him of governing in an authoritarian manner and imposing his Islamic views on a secular nation.

    The prime minister has dismissed the protests as bitterness by the opposition over lost elections, and said the demonstrators had no support among most Turks.

    The deputy head of Erdogan's party, Huseyin Celik, urged supporters not to mass at the airport Thursday to show support for the prime minister.

    Police used tear gas to break up protesters Wednesday night in central Ankara, while Istanbul was mainly quiet.

    Earlier Wednesday, protesters gave Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc a list of demands, including firing officials responsible for using force against the marchers.

    Two people have been killed, thousands hurt, and thousands of others arrested since last week. Arinc has apologized for the police response.

    The protesters also demanded freedom for all those who have been jailed, and for the government to halt its plans to build on the park site.

    • 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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