Silver Lining

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Erdogan condemns opponents as ‘looters’ amid unrelenting unrest

(File photo)

Press TV

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced his opponents as ‘looters’, urging his supporters to respond to protests by voting for his ruling party in local elections next year.

“There are just seven months left until the local elections. I want you to teach them a first lesson through democratic means at the ballot box,” Erdogan told a large crowd of his supporters upon arrival in the southern city of Adana.

The Turkish premier further added, “We will not do what a few looters have done. They burn, they destroy,” describing the protesters as “anarchists” and “terrorists.”

He also told the cheering crowd that anti-Ankara protesters “are vile enough to insult a prime minister of this country.”

Erdogan made the remarks amid widespread anti-government protest rallies in the country.

Late on Saturday, tens of thousands of Turkish protesters poured into the streets in Istanbul as well as in the capital, Ankara, and the western city of Izmir.

The unrest, which has entered its 10th day, was triggered by the police violence against an environmental protest at Istanbul’s Taksim Square on May 31.

The protests soon spread to 78 cities across Turkey and solidified into calls for Erdogan’s resignation.

On Saturday, leader of Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahceli called for early elections in order to overcome the current turmoil.

Erdogan has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis. Turkish police have also been criticized strongly for using excessive force against peaceful protests.

On June 7, the Turkish premier called for an immediate end to the demonstrations in the country and said the government was open to “democratic demands,” adding that the demonstrations were “bordering on vandalism.”

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