Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Erdogan defends stand on protests

People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul (AP)

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he carried out his "duty" by deploying riot police who evicted thousands of activists behind an 18-day sit-in at an Istanbul park that had become a centre of protests against his 10 years in office.

In a thunderous speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters in western Istanbul, Mr Erdogan also railed against foreign media coverage and social media amid criticism over his government's handling of the protests.

Meanwhile, about six miles away in the centre of the city, riot police were firing tear gas and water cannon against protesters and stone-throwing youths.

Protesters are angry over the eviction of overwhelmingly peaceful activists at Gezi Park who oppose government plans to rip down its trees and erect a replica Ottoman-era barracks.

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