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Regional and International News>>Fiercest Anti-Government Demonstrations Continue in Turkey

Fiercest Anti-Government Demonstrations Continue in Turkey

Jun 03, 2013

tISTANBUL, SANA_ Turkish peaceful protesters clashed with policemen into the early hours of Monday with setting fire to some offices of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years entered their fourth day.

Routers mentioned that roads around Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan's office in Istanbul were sealed off as police fired teargas to push back protesters in the early hours of Monday.

In the main street near Erdogan's office, one demonstrator drove a small mechanical digger towards police lines as other protesters followed behind.

At a nearby mosque, medical staff including trainee doctors treated those hurt in the clashes, Routers said.

It pointed out that bus shelters, paving stones and street signs ripped up by protesters to make barricades that littered a major avenue by the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul where some of the heaviest clashes took place overnight, and graffiti covered walls.

Dogan news agency reported that in the western port city of Izmir, protesters through fire bombs at AK Party offices overnight as the policemen stormed commercial compound in Ankara for doubts that protesters resorted to the compound and arrested many persons.

Turkey's main stock exchange has dropped sharply on opening on Monday. It fell 8 percent as investors worried about the destabilizing effect of the demonstrations on the economy.

The Turkish lira weakened to 1.8910 against the dollar on Monday, a decline from 1.8706 on Friday . The yield on Turkey's benchmark 10-year bonds climbed to 7.12 percent from 6.84 percent on Friday.

News reports said that hundreds of protestors were injured and around 1, 700 were arrested in several Turkish cities in a preliminary toll, amid speculations that protests would increase as the public opposition to the policies of Erdogan's government is on the rise.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the demonstrations in Turkey are motivated by an internal and external conspiracy.

In a press conference held on Tuesday in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the protests are organized by radical groups, adding that there is internal and external conspiracy behind these demonstrations.

He held the Republican People's Party (CHP) responsible for the demonstrations, despite the fact that several Turkish and international media outlets stressed that the majority of the protestors are not members of any political party, saying that the CHP along with external "hands" organized the events with the aim of spreading the protests in the country.

Erdogan refused to call the current events in Turkey a "Turkish Spring", adding that "The demonstrations are destructive…We will defend the public areas and institutions." 

The EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton has condemned the disproportionate use of force by police against protestors in Turkey and expressed “deep concern” over the violence.

" Ashton calls for restraint on all sides and an end to the violence. Dialogue should be opened to find a peaceful solution to this issue,” a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton said in a statement quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Amnesty International has criticized the use of excessive force to disperse peaceful protestors.

The United States also has called on Turkish security forces to show restraint in facing the protests.

The White House demanded all parties in Turkey to "calm the situation" amid anti-government protests.

Associated Press quoted the White House spokeswoman Laura Lucas as saying : " The U.S. believes peaceful public demonstrations "are a part of democratic expression,"

" Turkey's long-term stability is best guaranteed by upholding "the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association." She added. 

The spark of protests was triggered because of a project to uproot 600 trees from the Gezi Park in Taksim Square in Istanbul which is considered an outlet for the city's citizens. 

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