Monday, June 10, 2013

Turkish Opposition Calls on Prime Minister to Halt Escalating Tensions

TEHRAN (FNA)- Turkey's opposition party leader called on the prime minister to stop escalating tensions as antigovernment protests that led to three deaths entered their 11th day.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a series of fiery speeches to his supporters, saying the government's patience was running thin, demanding an end to the protests and threatening to hold those who don't respect his government to account.

In comments published in Hurriyet newspaper Monday, main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said Erdogan was "trying to hold on to power by creating tensions" and was "throwing society into the fire", AP reported.

Erdogan is scheduled to discuss the protests with Cabinet ministers on Monday.

On Sunday, Erdogan once again condemned recent antigovernment demonstrations, and called the protesters as looters.

Erdogan made the comments in the Southern city of Adana, where pro- and antigovernment protesters clashed on the evening of June 8.

Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) also ruled out early elections.

The party said local and presidential elections would be held next year as planned and a general election in 2015.

The protests in Turkey began last week as a sit-in over plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul's Taksim Square, but escalated after police used tear gas.

In Ankara, protesters tried to march on the parliament.

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to prevent hundreds of protesters reaching the central Taksim Square, scene of violent protests in which hundreds were wounded.

Anti-government demonstrators wearing handkerchiefs and surgical masks chanted "unite against fascism" and "government resign" as they tried to walk down the street to Taksim, a witness said.

It later spread to 67 cities across the country and turned into clashes between protesters and the police, which have left three people dead, over 4,000 injured and thousands detained.

The protesters vowed to go ahead with their "struggle" until their demands are met by the government through tangible steps.

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