Turkey: police occupy Taksim, Erdogan adopts hard line

Premier attacks, we will cut Gezi Park trees

11 June, 19:50

    Police regain control of Taksim suare in Istanbul Police regain control of Taksim suare in Istanbul

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JUNE 11 - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has adopted a hard line against demonstrators who have been protesting against him for two weeks. On Tuesday , police regained control of Taksim square in Istanbul, which had been occupied by Turkish activists for ten days, after violent clashes with groups of demonstrators.

    During the night new incidents were reported in Ankara, in the Alawite district of Gazi in Istanbul and in other cities.

    In a speech to the parliamentary group of his Islamic AKP party on Tuesday Erdogan said the trees of Gezi Park would be cut. The unrest began two weeks ago after a crackdown on a protest against the park's redevelopment. The premier once again accused financial lobbies and the foreign media of attacking the country.

    Hundreds of anti-riot police stormed Taksim square at dawn Tuesday with tanks, water cannons and tear gas. Hundreds of demonstrators patrolling the square withdrew into adjoining Gezi Park. A few groups hurled stones and Molotov cocktails against police. Injuries and arrests were reported.

    Several demonstrators claimed police deployed in the square included officers instigating violence. Later, bulldozers started to dismantle barricades set up in the past few days.

    A group of protesters had gathered every day in Taksim square and Gezi Park - which has been turned into a libertarian citadel - ever since police withdrew on June 1. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Turkey asking Erdogan to step down.

    The premier confirmed on Tuesday that four people, three demonstrators and a policeman, died since the beginning of the unrest. According to the national doctors' association, 5.000 demonstrators have been injured. The violent repression operated by Turkish police has been criticized worldwide.

    Many are awaiting the protest movement's response.

    Yesterday Erdogan, in an apparent move to promote a detente, announced he would meet today with representatives of the protest movement against the destruction of Gezi Park.

    The Turkish economy is suffering from the unrest. Part of foreign capitals invested in the country are being withdrawn and the Borsa Istanbul lost over 10% last week, burning one billion dollars. The central bank had to intervene to support the lira which fell to its lowest level compared to the dollar since October 2011. (ANSAmed)

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