News / Middle East

Turkish Opposition Calls on PM to End Tensions

Turkey Protests
Turkey Protests
VOA News
Turkey's opposition party leader has urged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop escalating tensions and dragging the country "into the fire" as anti-government protests that have led to three deaths entered their 11th day.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the secular Republican People's Party, told the Hurriyet newspaper Monday the country is "witnessing a prime minister who is trying to hold on to power by creating tensions."
 
Erdogan, meanwhile, was heading a Cabinet meeting to discuss the protests - the first serious challenge to his 10-year rule.

Turkish protesters refused to back down Monday despite facing another round of tear gas and water cannons for a second straight night. Demonstrators responded by throwing rocks at security forces.

The latest clashes came just hours after Erdogan told thousands of supporters in the capital, Ankara, that his patience with the anti-government protests is running thin.

Erdogan said Sunday that demonstrators would "pay a price," adding that he would have to "speak the language" they understand.

The prime minister urged his supporters to avoid violence and use local elections next year to "teach a lesson" to their opponents.

Three people have been killed and thousands hurt since the protests began against government 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.

  • 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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