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Clashes reignite in Ankara as PM blames extremists

Monday, June 03, 2013 - 01:22

As new protests erupt in Ankara, Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calls for calm following three days of heavy clashes, which he says were sparked by extremist groups. Jessica Gray reports.

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Police square off with protesters in Ankara yet again as fresh clashes erupt Monday following a third night of demonstrations throughout Turkey. The violence is the some of the worst the country has seen in decades, exploding into a show of defiance against the what protesters say is the creeping authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Calling for calm, Erdogan addressed the nation on Monday, claiming the mass demonstrations had been organized by extremist factions. The clashes began over the destruction of a historic park in Istanbul to make room for a shopping centre, but rapidly tuned into fierce widespread anti-government protests. Over a thousand people have reportedly been hurt in the protests. The prime minister and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have been in power for three decades, ushering in a period of unprecedented political stability and economic growth. Now some are accusing Erdogan of using his last term to muzzle the media, tighten his grip on state institutions and bring religion into politics, which is forbidden in Turkey's secular constitution.

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Clashes reignite in Ankara as PM blames extremists

Monday, June 03, 2013 - 01:22