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New anti-gov’t protests hit Turkey

(Turkey-file photo)

Al Ahed news

Police used water cannon and tear gas overnight Wednesday in a bid to break up fresh anti-government protests across Turkey, media said.

Thousands of people angry over the death of a 22-year-old demonstrator in southern Turkey on Monday clashed with police in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the western city of Izmir as well as in the southern cities of Mersin and Atakya.

In Istanbul, the Turkish commercial hub where an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests erupted in June, around a thousand protesters clashed with police who fired tear gas and water canon, the CNN-Turk television channel reported.
Several protesters were hurt and around 20 were arrested during the demonstrations in Kadikoy Square, it said.

In Izmir, a large city in the west, more than 2,500 people marched through the city center in defiance of police who fired tear gas, the newspaper Hurriyet said.
It said the crowd shouted “AKP murderer,” denouncing the governing Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party [AKP].

Similar clashes occurred in Ankara, Mersin and in Antakya, the city in southern Turkey near the Syrian border where Ahmet Atakan, 22, died Monday night.
Atakan died in hospital after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister during clashes between police and around 150 protesters, Dogan news agency said.
Local officials disputed that account, saying Atakan had died after falling from a rooftop where he had been throwing stones at police.

In a statement, the police also said the youngster had died in a fall.

His death is the sixth recorded in protests since demonstrations against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen as increasingly authoritarian, began in June.

‘One killed in Turkey clashes’

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

A 22-year-old man has been killed in fresh clashes between anti-government protesters and police forces in the southern Turkish city of Antakya, reports say.

According to a report by the Dogan news agency on Tuesday, the victim was killed after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Turkish security forces.

The protesters had gathered to denounce violence carried out by government forces, which has left a 14-year-old boy, Berkin Elvan, in a coma since June. Elvan was also hit with a gas canister.

On September 9, clashes also took place in Istanbul where hundreds of demonstrators had gathered to protest against Elvan’s situation.

Police forces fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and put up barricades.

On September 7, Turkish police clashed with students protesting against reconstruction plans in their university campus in the capital, Ankara.

The students are opposed to the municipality’s plan to build a road by uprooting a large number of trees on the campus. Reports say around 3,000 trees would be removed inside the campus due to the controversial project.

A peaceful sit-in back in June aimed at saving Istanbul’s central Gezi Park from being razed prompted a violent police response.

Several people were killed and thousands injured after the protests spiraled into nationwide demos against the government.

Russia: Homemade chemical ammunition used in March attack in Syria & related news

Homemade chemical ammunition used in March attack in Syria: Russia

Press TV

Russia says that home-made ammunition was used in a chemical attack carried out in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo in March, which killed over two dozen people.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, “The used round of ammunition was a homemade item on the basis of rockets made in Syria’s north by the so-called Bashair Al-Nasr brigade.”

Moscow made the statement based on conclusions reached by the Russian experts who carried out an investigation into the March 19 chemical attack, which reportedly left 26 Syrian civilians and soldiers dead and nearly 100 others affected.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the chemical weapons used in the attack were not made by the Syrian army.

The findings by the Russian experts come amid a rising threat of war against Syria over the unsubstantiated accusation that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons…


Chemical weapons sent from Turkey to Syria: Former Turkish provincial official

Press TV

A former member of a city council in the Turkish province of Hatay says the chemical weapons used in last month’s attack in Syria were transported from Turkey, Press TV reports.

“Four months ago, Turkish security forces found a two-kilogram cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. They are using our borders to take the gas into Syria,” Mohamad Gunes said.

“The Syrian president has no reason to kill his own people,” he added.

People in the southern province, which borders Syria, said the weapons were used by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front militants and not the Syrian government.

“America and Israel had al-Qaeda use chemical weapons in order to push us into war; none of us wants war here. In the history of Hatay, we all lived peacefully side by side, now there is Mossad, CIA and al-Qaeda all over the place. We are worried that they might use chemical weapons against us,” said Farid Mainy, a Hatay resident and an activist.

The residents believe the Turkish government is allowing the transfer of weapons because Ankara is trying to create a pretext in order to wage war on its neighbor.


Russian Ships ’Able to React’ in Case of Syria Escalation

Al Manar

Russian naval vessels in the Mediterranean are capable of reacting to an escalation in the Syria conflict, a military source said Wednesday, as Moscow fine tunes its maritime presence ahead of possible US military action.

“Today we consider our presence in the eastern Mediterranean to be sufficient to solve the tasks. If necessary, together with submarine forces, they (the ships) are capable even today of influencing a military situation,” a general staff source told the Interfax news agency.

“We are ready to solve sudden task. For that, the naval group is being corrected for the corresponding variants of the outcome of events,” the source added, without giving further details.

According to Interfax, the Russian destroyer Smetlivy will soon join the group in the Mediterranean as well as the destroyer Nastoichivy.

The anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev has already entered its zone of operation as the flagship of the current rotation of the naval grouping in the Mediterranean, a military source told the agency.

The missile cruiser Moskva, from the Black Sea fleet, has now left its assignment in the northern Atlantic and is now on its way to the eastern Mediterranean.

On arrival it will assume the role as the Russian flagship, Interfax said.

Already in place in the eastern Mediterranean are the frigate Neustrashimy, as well as the landing ships Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky and the Peresvet.

They will be joined by the large landing ships Novocherkassk and Minsk on September 5-6, Interfax said. As previously reported, the reconnaissance ship Priazovye is also on its way to join the group.

The US already has a strong naval presence in the region and the possible US military action launched against Syria is widely expected to be launched from the sea.

Russia has kept a constant presence in the eastern Mediterranean during the Syrian crisis, rotating its group every few months.

Russia also has a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.

According to Russian media reports, Russian naval personnel have largely now been withdrawn from the base, a modest but hugely strategic facility which Moscow calls a “point of military-technical supply of the Russian Navy.”

Moscow vehemently opposes US-led plans for military action against Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus, warning it risks destabilizing the entire region.


Al-Nusra Attacks Ma’loula in Damascus, Destroys Aramaic Church and Institute

Al Manar

Violent clashes took place between the Syrian Army units and opposition gunmen in the historic town of Ma’loula in Rural Damascus on Thursday, after hundreds of militants attacked the Christian-majority town.

Local and international media outlets reported that that al-Nusra Front militiamen destroyed the Aramaic church and institute in the town and stole their contents.

Militants began their attack on Wednesday detonating a booby-trapped car at an army checkpoint near the town in the northern countryside of Damascus.

The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’ claimed responsibility for the bombing , which aided the gunmen to enter Ma’loula and seize control over its main square where snipers deployed over a number of buildings.

Journalists and reporters said that access to the town is not possible due to the fierce clashes between the two sides, indicating that militants have slaughtered some Syrian soldiers.

From her part, Mother Bagela said that two shells landed on the monastery of Mar Takla leaving material damage.

Media correspondents also stated the army’s military operations are cautious because of the presence of civilians, in addition to that al-Nusra’s gunmen deployed over Ma’loula building are delaying the qualitative military conduct to restore the town.


US will definitely pay price of attack on Syria: Leader

Press TV

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has warned the US against attacking Syria, saying Washington will certainly pay the price for such a venture.

“We believe that the Americans are committing a folly and mistake in Syria and will accordingly take the blow and definitely suffer,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in address to members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.

The Leader said the main objective of the global arrogance is to dominate the Middle East, with Israel in the saddle, controlling everything.

“The goal of the recent issues regarding Syria, which started under the pretext of chemical weapons, is also the same, but the Americans are trying through rhetoric and word-manipulation to pretend that they are entering this issue for a humane goal.”

Ayatollah Khamenei, however, stressed that that US politicians do not care about humanitarian concerns at all.

“Americans are making humanitarian claims at the time that their track records include [the atrocities at] Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons, silence over Saddam’s use of chemical weapons in Halabja and Iranian cities, as well as the massacre of innocent people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.”

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that what is going on in the region “is indeed the reaction of the global arrogance, led by the US, to the Islamic Awakening.”

“The presence of the global arrogance in the region is [based on] aggression, bullying and avarice, and is aimed at crushing any resistance against this presence. The arrogance front, however, has not been and will not be able to eliminate this resistance [front],” the Leader added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Leader referred to the ongoing turmoil in Egypt, noting that if Egypt had stood up against Israel and had not fallen for US promises, the deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would not have been freed from prison and those elected by the Egyptian people put behind the bars and tried.


Swedes protest US plans for war on Syria amid Obama visit

Press TV

Thousands of protesters have held a demonstration in Sweden’s capital to protest against the US’s warmongering policies vis-à-vis Syria as US President Barack Obama arrived in the European country.

Angry demonstrators took to the streets of Stockholm on Wednesday to express opposition to calls by the Obama administration for a military strike on Syria.

The protesters carried banners that read, “No to Big Brother Obama,” “No to war on Syria,” and “Hands off Snowden,” in a reference to American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked two top secret spying programs run by the US government.

“Send Obama away. We don’t want Obama to come to Sweden because we see him as a war criminal,” a protester said.

The US president traveled to Sweden to discuss issues related to economy, employment, free trade, climate and energy.

However, the demonstrators in Stockholm said Obama is trying to convince the Swedish government to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and support the US attack on Syria.

“No negotiation about Sweden being a member of NATO, because I think that’s on the agenda today, that Obama wants Sweden to be [a] NATO member and we’re opposing all of that,” another protester said.

Turkey opposition blames Erdogan for abduction of pilots

Press TV

Turkey’s opposition parties have blamed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the abduction of two Turkish pilots in Lebanon, Press TV reports.

“It was a policy of Turkey to have no problems with its neighbors, now we have a problem with Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon. There is a serious problem with our foreign policy,” said opposition lawmaker, Faruk Bal.

On August 9, gunmen kidnapped the pilots in a pre-dawn ambush on a bus carrying members of a Turkish Airlines crew from Beirut airport to Beirut’s Radisson Martinez Hotel.

There are speculations that the abduction could be linked to the case of nine Lebanese – pilgrims who were kidnapped in Syria’s Aleppo in May 2012. Some of those pilgrims have been released, but most are still held captive.

Following the abduction, Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “Given the current situation, it is vital that our citizens avoid all travel to Lebanon.”

“We suggest that citizens who are still in Lebanon return to Turkey if they can, or if they have to remain, to take all measures to ensure their personal safety and be vigilant,” it added.

The ministry stated that Ankara expected the Lebanese government to take “all necessary measures” to ensure the safety of Turkish citizens in the country.

Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has been supporting militants fighting to topple the Syrian government since the Arab country plunged into unrest in March 2011…

Police use tear gas, water cannon to break up protesters in Istanbul

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

Turkish police have confronted hundreds of anti-government protesters trying to hold a fresh demonstration at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square.

On Saturday, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the protesters. Witnesses said several people were injured and dozens arrested during the police crackdown.

Over the past couple of weeks, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters held demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country.

According to the Turkish police, around 2.5 million people have taken to the streets in nearly 80 cities for three weeks to demand the resignation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The unrest in Turkey began on May 31 after police broke up a sit-in held at Taksim Square in protest at the demolition of Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

So far, five people have been killed and more than 8,000 injured in the unrest…

Seventeen protesters detained in Istanbul’s Gezi Park

Press TV

Turkish security forces have detained 17 people, including a German human right activist, during a fresh protest in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

The arrests were made early on Tuesday after a group of people began lying down on the ground at the park, Turkish media reported.

Municipality workers also collected symbolic tombstones placed at the park in memory of the people who were killed during the anti-government protests in the park and neighboring Taksim Square.

Among the detained was German national Klaus Muller, who was taken away by the police while chanting in English and German.

Meanwhile, security forces carried out a string of raids in five cities across Turkey, and rounded up 19 people in connection with previous protests.

On May 31, Turkish police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park.

The violence turned into nationwide demonstrations against the ruling Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators.

Erdogan, who has come under fire over the heavy-handed handling of the demonstrations, has described the protesters as vandals, looters or terrorists, and claims the demonstrations are part of a plot to topple his government.

Five people, including a police officer, have been killed and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers injured in the protests.

The Turkish government has also arrested many activists, among them high school students, on allegations of inciting unrest.

Erdogan threatens to sue Times over critical letter

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch a lawsuit against a British newspaper for publishing an open letter criticizing the excessive use of police force against anti-government protesters.

Erdogan made the remarks on Friday in comments broadcast by Turkey’s NTV channel.

A group of celebrities and academics, including US film stars Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, and film director David Lynch, signed the open letter published in the Times this week.

The signatories accused the Turkish government of “dictatorial rule” and of causing the deaths of five protesters who died in police crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Erdogan said, “The press wants to throw mud to see if it sticks. The Times is renting out its own pages for money,” adding, “This is the Times’ failing. We will pursue legal channels regarding the Times.”

The Turkish Prime Minister also said those who signed the letter had “rented out their thoughts” and did not genuinely support democracy.

“If they truly believed in democracy, they couldn’t have displayed such a lack of character to call the leader of a party that won 50% of the vote a dictator,” he also said.

The signatories also accused Erdogan of undermining the principles of a free press for imprisoning dozens of journalists in the past few years.

Turkey has been rocked by nationwide protests and strikes against the policies of the prime minister.

The unrest began on May 31 after police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest against the demolition of nearby Gezi Park.

Erdogan has described the protesters as vandals, looters or terrorists, and claims the demonstrations are part of a plot to topple his government.

Turkey’s opposition lambastes PM over media freedom

Al Ahed news

Turkey’s main opposition leader accused Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday of cowing local media into self-censorship after a journalist group said dozens of reporters were fired for their coverage of anti-government protests.

The Turkish Journalists Union [TGS] said at least 72 journalists had either been fired, forced to take leave or had resigned in the past six weeks since the start of the unrest, which spread to cities around the country.

The demonstrations, which began as a small effort to save an Istanbul park from redevelopment, quickly mushroomed into an unprecedented show of defiance against the government, emerging as the most serious public challenge to Erdogan’s 10-year rule.

The protests have now largely died down although smaller demonstrations have persisted in Istanbul and Ankara.

“Why are you letting the journalists go? Why are you forcing them to take leave? Because they write stories their bosses don’t like,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the CHP party.

“We are now facing a new period where the media is controlled by the government and the police and where most media bosses take orders from political authorities. A period where stories approved by political authorities are published and those that aren’t are censored,” he said.

Kilicdaroglu was speaking to reporters in Ankara at the launch of a report by his party on imprisoned journalists in Turkey. According to the report, 64 are now in jail.

Turkey has slumped to the bottom of international rankings on press freedom in recent years and has come under increasing criticism over the jailing of reporters, with one media group dubbing it the “world’s biggest prison” for journalists.

Erdogan’s government says most of the detained media workers are being held for serious crimes, such as membership of an armed terrorist group, that have nothing to do with journalism.

The Turkish leader dismissed last month’s protesters as “riff-raff” manipulated by “terrorists” and blamed foreign and local media for inciting the unrest.

Mainstream media outlets, many owned by big conglomerates with links to the prime minister, self-censored their coverage of the protests, stepping up reporting only after Erdogan himself commented on the unusual scenes of chaos, prompting many Turks to turn to social media to follow the events.

Turkish court gives green light to demolish Gezi park

(Turkey-file photo)

Al Manar

Istanbul’s administrative court gave the ‘go-ahead’ to demolish city’s Gezi Park, which was at the center of heated nationwide protests sparked by the decision to get rid of the park and turn it into a monument to the Ottoman Empire.

An Istanbul administrative court overturned a lower court’s ruling to stop the Turkish government’s plan to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park after the Culture and Tourism Ministry appealed the verdict.

The new development includes the rebuilding of the Ottoman artillery barracks, which will have a shopping mall inside one of the buildings. The protests against the construction spread nationally since late May, growing into a larger opposition by those unhappy with Erdogan’s “authoritarian style of rule.”

The park has turned into a cradle of anti-government unrest, where the protests turned violent as police used teargas and water canon to disperse protesters.

The demonstrations, which went on throughout most of June, resulted in the death of four people and around 7,500 injured.

A police officer has also died after falling from a bridge while in pursuit of fleeing protesters in Adana.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a hard stance against anti-government demonstrators, calling them “marauders” and repeating the claims of protesters drinking alcohol in mosques and attacking women in hijabs.

Erdogan also focused on a foreign supported conspiracy, claiming the Turkish government has “all the evidence needed” of the “traitor scheme” behind the protests.

He also praised the police, saying that Western countries and Russia had been even tougher in cracking down on protests and used “bullets,” while the Turkish police have been “patient.”

At least 11 people lost an eye after being hit by a teargas canister or a plastic bullet in Turkey up to June 27, said the statement by the Medical Association quoted in the report. Dozens of others received serious head or upper body injuries.

Reports said that the Turkish police used 130,000 teargas canisters over three weeks in June. In total, Turkey imported 628 tons of tear gas and pepper spray between 2000 and 2012, Turkish newspaper Sozcu reported, quoting Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazici.

On July 16, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the case of Abdullah Yaşa and Others v. Turkey that “improper firing of tear gas by Turkish police directly at protestors, injuring a 13 year old, had violated human rights,” and called for stronger safeguards to minimize the risk of death and injury resulting from its use.

Turkey: Anti-government protests erupt at Istanbul’s Taksim Square

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

Fresh anti-government demonstrations have erupted at the iconic Taksim Square in the Turkish port city of Istanbul, with protesters chanting slogans and calling on the government to resign.

Protesters gathered on Saturday to march on Gezi Park, which has been the epicenter of anti-government demonstrations for several weeks.

Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters.

The demonstrations came in response to a government-sponsored law banning architects and engineers who took part in protests from getting involved in city planning…

Turkey police prevent journalists rally

Press TV

Turkish police have prevented a rally by journalists who attempted to enter Istanbul’s Taksim Square to protest the restrictions on media freedom in the country, Press TV reports.

On Friday, hundreds of journalists rallied to slam the harassment during recent anti-government demonstrations. They also called for the release of their colleagues who are in prison.

The journalists staged a brief sit-in after being blocked by the police and then dispersed.

Reports say that many journalists were detained and targeted by police during the demonstrations in the country and some were fired for siding with the protesters.

“We will continue our street protests. I cannot predict when the protests will end. The government should accept our proposal and stop the police violence. We want all our rights; they must honor our rights. The governments’ behavior is always negative. Our leader does not listen to us and provokes us,” said Hassan Huseyn Karabulut, an activist.

Crackdown on anti-government protests in Turkey has claimed the lives of five people. The latest death occurred when a 19-year-old student succumbed to injuries he sustained during a police crackdown on a June 2 demonstration in the Turkish city of Eskisehir.

Detained Turkish demonstrators go on hunger strike

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV</strong>

Turkish demonstrators, arrested at Istanbul’s Gezi Park, start a hunger strike to protest against the extension of their detention period.

Almost 50 detainees went on hunger strike on Wednesday after prosecutors prolonged their detention.

The detainees identified as representatives and leaders of workers’ groups had been rounded up on Monday.

The Taksim Solidarity Platform said they were taken into custody without any legal basis.

Turkish police have arrested thousands of demonstrators since a renovation plan at Gezi Park sparked massive anti-government rallies in May…

Turkish teen dies as death toll of protests rises to five

Al Manar

The death toll of the anti-government protests rises to five people as a 19-year-old university student dies of injuries.

Local news agency, Dogan, reported on Wednesday that Ali Ismail Korkmaz, who joined the demos on June 2 in the central Anatolian city of Eskisehir, suffered a brain hemorrhage when unidentified assailants attacked him while he was fleeing from tear gas.

However, the Turkish Medical Association told AFP it could not confirm the latest casualty.

The deadly wave of protests presented Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government with the most serious challenge to its rule since it came to power more than a decade ago.

The unrest flared when police cracked down on a peaceful sit-in against plans to redevelop a central Istanbul park on May 31, which then snowballed into nationwide protests that saw some 2.5 million take to the streets.

The government’s heavy-handed response during nearly three weeks of protests left nearly 8,000 injured and earned Turkey a strong rebuke from the United States and its Western allies.

On Saturday, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks urged an investigation into the use of excessive police force.

“All instances of excessive use of force by the police must be fully investigated and adequately punished,” he said during a visit to the Turkish capital Ankara.

He deplored the fact that only three police officers had been suspended, despite numerous accusations of rights abuses.

Turkish police fire tear gas at protesters in Istanbul

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

Turkish police have fired tear gas and used water cannons in Istanbul to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Police on Saturday fired volleys of tear gas at protesters gathered at the city’s landmark Taksim Square who were trying to enter the nearby Gezi Park, which has been cordoned off. Sporadic clashes between riot police and protesters stretched into the night.

Earlier, Istanbul’s Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu, warned that the demonstration was illegal and participants would be dispersed.

Organizers of the Saturday protest had planned to serve notice to authorities of a court decision that has annulled redevelopment plans for Taksim and to break through police cordons.

An Istanbul court in June ruled against the redevelopment plans. The court’s decision however, is not final and is expected to be appealed at a higher administrative court…

Turkish court cancels plan to redevelop Istanbul’s Taksim Square

(Turkey-file photo)

Press TV

A Turkish court has blocked a redevelopment project for Istanbul’s Taksim Square after the country was rocked by four weeks of anti-government protests.

The court ruling is seen as a big blow to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had strongly backed the project, but is also seen as a victory for the opposition that has been staging nationwide rallies against it.

Istanbul has been the epicenter of anti-government demonstrations since May 31, when the police broke up a sit-in staged at Taksim Square to protest against the redevelopment plan which involved the demolition of Gezi Park.

The Turkish protesters said Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is one of Istanbul’s last public green spaces.

The protests soon spread to other cities across the country and turned into calls for the resignation of the Turkish prime minister.

Several people have been killed in the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, who Erdogan has described as foreign-backed extremists and terrorists.

Last week, Turkish artists, journalists, and authors placed full-page advertisements in several newspapers, asking Erdogan to stop using divisive language.

On June 24, Erdogan praised the “legendary heroism” of police forces in quelling anti-government protests.

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