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Turkish prime minister Erdogan demands end to protests

ANKARA, Turkey — In a series of increasingly belligerent speeches to cheering supporters Sunday, Turkey's prime minister demanded an end to the 10-day antigovernment protests that have spread across the country, saying those who do not respect the government will pay.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his patience was running out with the protesters, who have occupied Istanbul's main Taksim Square for more than a week and have held hundreds of demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country.

Raising the stakes for those opposing him on Turkish streets and squares, Erdogan said he plans to bring out his supporters for rallies in Ankara and Istanbul next weekend.

Erdogan's increasingly fiery tone could inflame tensions, with tens of thousands of antigovernment protesters in the country's largest city, Istanbul, and thousands in the capital, Ankara, remaining on the streets. On two occasions, including one in the southern city of Adana on Saturday night, clashes have been reported between Erdogan supporters and protesters.

Protests have been held in 78 cities across the country since May 31, sparked by a violent police crackdown on a peaceful protest objecting to the redevelopment of Taksim Square and its Gezi Park.

They have since morphed into a general denunciation of what many see as Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian ways after a decade in power, and as an attempt to impose his conservative, religious mores in a country governed by secular laws.

"We showed patience but our patience has its limits," Erdogan told a crowd of thousands of party supporters who turned out to cheer his arrival at Ankara airport on Sunday, in the third of about seven speeches given through the afternoon and evening.

He called repeatedly for the protests to end.

Turkish protesters wave national flags with portraits of Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as they take part in an anti-government rally in Ankara on Sunday. In a series of increasingly belligerent speeches to cheering supporters Sunday, Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a verbal attack on the tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who flooded the streets for a 10th day, accusing them of creating an environment of terror.

Associated Press

Turkish protesters wave national flags with portraits of Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as they take part in an anti-government rally in Ankara on Sunday. In a series of increasingly belligerent speeches to cheering supporters Sunday, Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a verbal attack on the tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who flooded the streets for a 10th day, accusing them of creating an environment of terror.

Turkish prime minister Erdogan demands end to protests 06/09/13 [Last modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 12:51am]
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