Turkey's Erdogan defends protest crackdown in Istanbul
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 01:13
June 18 - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan strikes a defiant tone as protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square take a new tack. Lindsey Parietti reports.
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A quiet morning in Istanbul's Taksim Square after days of clashes between security forces and protesters.
On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan defended the police operation that cleared the downtown area using tear gas and water cannons.
(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING:
"We did whatever we had to in a state of law," he said. "We have cleared out Taksim Square and Gezi Park from these invaders. You know they have destroyed everything."
He said the unrest had cost the state more than $53 million dollars.
It has also claimed four lives and left thousands injured.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, SENAM SARACH, SAYING:
"They call the protesters provocateurs, but I think the government and the prime minister are the biggest provocateurs. They don't see these people, they don't understand, they don't want to see what these people are looking for."
A defiant few returned to the square on Tuesday, standing in silent protest.
Hundreds have been inspired by one protester dubbed "standing man" who staged an eight-hour silent vigil Monday.
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