Erdogan lashes out at protesters, BBC

Erdogan lashes out at protesters, BBC
Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:22:34

Turkish police have detained at least 20 protesters, as the country’s prime minister continued to lash out at anti-government demonstrator, accusing the British state-run broadcaster BBC of being part of an international conspiracy to destabilize Turkey.

In an address to members of his party in Parliament on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that the protests were orchestrated by forces wanting to prevent Turkey’s rise.

He repeated his claim that the same conspiracy was at work in Brazil, saying both countries had paid off debts to the International Monetary Fund.

“From the start, some people, internally and externally, have tried to portray the protests as totally innocent and just, and the police of having systematically used force,” Erdogan said. “Certain media in Turkey were lead provocateurs. The foreign media took part in these operations.”

He targeted a Turkish BBC reporter who tweeted about a forum held by protesters, where participants reportedly suggested a six-month boycott of goods that they said would help slow down the economy. Without mentioning her by name, Erdogan accused Selin Girit of being “part of a conspiracy against her own country.”

“Their aim is to prevent democracy, to harm Turkey’s economy, to hit tourism,” Erdogan said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters marched to Istanbul’s central Taksim square, this time to denounce a court decision that — pending trial — freed a police officer accused of killing a demonstrator during the anti-government protests that have swept the country since May 31. Police surrounded the square, blocking their access.

At least four demonstrators and a police officer were killed in the protests that began in Istanbul following a heavy-handed police clampdown on peaceful activists. They quickly turned into widespread expression of discontent with what critics have said is the prime minister’s increasingly authoritarian way of governing.

One of the protesters was killed by a bullet fired by police during a demonstration in Ankara on June 1. A court on Monday released the officer from custody pending trial, on the grounds that the shooting may have been accidental. But some see the release as proof that Turkish authorities are too lenient toward police.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said police searched some 30 addresses in the capital, Ankara, and rounded up 20 people with alleged links to “terror” groups and suspected of “attacking police and the environment” during the protests.

Erdogan holds unspecified foreign forces, bankers and media outlets responsible for the protests that had largely subsided until the court freed the police officer.

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