|Turkey bows to protester anger
Turkey's government apologized today to protesters hurt in clashes with police during days of demonstrations and called for an immediate end to the anger.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc moved to calm tensions after days of street clashes in which two people have been killed, saying the government had “learnt its lesson,’’ AFP reports.
“Responsible citizens will stop today,'' he told a televised news conference in Ankara after meeting with President Abdullah Gul. “We expect all unions, political parties and everyone who loves and cares about Turkey to do this today.''
He said the protests that erupted in Istanbul last week after police tear-gassed demonstrators angry over plans to demolish a public park were based on “legitimate'' complaints.
“What made things get out of hand was the use of gas by security forces, for one reason or another, against people with rightful demands,'' he said.
“The government has learnt its lessons from what happened,'' he added.
“We do not have the right and cannot afford to ignore people. Democracies cannot exist without opposition.''
He updated the government toll of those injured in the disturbances, saying 64 civilians and 244 police officers were hurt, but doctors and rights groups have put the figure much higher.
Five days of clashes have rocked cities across Turkey with police firing tear gas and water cannons at stone-throwing protesters.
A doctors' association said one protester was killed in Istanbul on Sunday and provincial officials said a second man died in a clash on Monday in Antalya in the south.