LIVE BLOG: Turkey unrest enters day five
Man, 22, reportedly killed in protests in south Turkey, second fatality since demonstrations began; Erdogan accuses protesters of 'terrorism,' says parties that lost election responsible for violence.
Clashes between Turkish police and anti-government protesters continued in Istanbul early Tuesday, as the country's fiercest demonstrations in years entered their fifth day.
A 22-year-old man was reportedly killed in the overnight clashes, the second fatality since the demonstrations began. Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested in more than 90 separate demonstrations around the country, including the country's four biggest cities since clashes erupted Friday. More than 1,000 people have been wounded in Istanbul and several hundred more in Ankara, according to medics.
The unrest was triggered by protests against government plans to build replica Ottoman-era barracks to house shops or apartments in Taksim Square, long a venue for political protest. But it has widened into a broader show of defiance against Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).
22:00 P.M. The White House welcomes comments by Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, who apologized for the use of excessive force by police to rein in anti-government protesters in Istanbul last week.
"We hope that as we have made clear that the Turkish government will handle this in a way that respects the rights of free speech and assembly that are elemental to democracies," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. "And we welcome the deputy prime minister's comments apologizing for excessive force and we continue to welcome calls for these events to be investigated."
21:40 P.M. Police fire tear gas grenades at protesters in Antakya. While the unrest appears to subside in Istanbul, violence is escalating in other parts of the country, away from the media's eye.
20:00 P.M. Police and soldiers with rifles and body armor are heading off demonstrators on the edge of the Armutlu neighborhood in Antakya after a protester is laid to rest. All entrances to the neighborhood are blocked with rocks, old cars and burning tires. Youngsters are massing at the site of the standoff armed with clubs and donning scarves over their faces.
7:30 P.M. Police in riot vans and soldiers with automatic rifles and body armor are on standby in the neighborhood of Armutlu in Antakya, following the funeral of a young man who was killed during a protest there on Monday.
6:20 P.M. "In Istanbul they're protesting over a few trees. Here it's the Alevis against the Sunnis and the government," says a young man in the Turkish city of Antakya, where demonstrators gathered ahead of the evening's rally.
5:30 P.M. Hundreds of protesters are waiting for the evening's demonstrations to begin in Antakya, a city in the Hatay Province in south Turkey. A man was shot dead during an anti-government protest in the city on Monday.
2:20 P.M. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc offers an apology for the violent crackdown on an environmental protest, in a bid to appease days of anti-government rallies across the country. Arinc, who is standing in for the prime minister while he is out of the country, said the crackdown was "wrong and unjust." It was unclear, however, whether Arinc was giving the government line. (AP)
12:48 P.M. Arinc says he would meet some of the original organizers of a protest to save a park in Istanbul which has spiralled into days of anti-government demonstrations across the country.
"There is a need to clearly communicate to remove confusion in people's minds. In line with this, today we will meet with the associations and representatives of those who opened the lawsuit to learn their views," Arinc told a news conference. (Reuters)
11:00 A.M. The Anatalya municipality has refused to provide riot police with water from firefighting trucks for use against protesters, according to local news reports.
10:35 A.M. Turkish assets claw some of the previous day's heavy losses as investor concern appear to ease. Main Istanbul share index was up 3.87 percent at 79,965 points at 0716 GMT, having closed 10.47 percent lower on Monday.
The lira strengthened to 1.8804 against the dollar from 1.8892 late on Monday, when it hit its weakest level since January 2012. The two-year benchmark bond yield fell to 6.36 percent from 6.47 percent on Monday.
9:30 A.M. Union federation begin a two-day strike amid ongoing demonstrations.
8:30 A.M. The German Foreign Ministry called on all German nationals in Turkey to stay away from the central protest locations, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported. Other embassies, including the U.S., issued similar warnings Monday.
7:00 A.M. Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz correspondent in Istanbul, says around 200 protestors are still in Taksim square and the smell of tear gas is in the air. The police did not try to cross the barricades overnight.
5:50 A.M. Abdullah Comert, 22, shot dead late during overnight anti-government demonstration in the southern Hatay province near the Syrian border, the provincial governor's office says. Comert was seriously wounded after shot in the head by an unknown gunmen, and died in hospital. He was a member of the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) youth branch, NTV reported.
2:50 A.M. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a visit to Morocco, says parties that lost in last elections responsible for the current rounds of violence. He also says routine will return within says, and accuses the protesters of "terrorism".
00:48 A.M. Anti-government protesters responsible for Turkey's worst riots in years are "arm-in-arm with terrorism", Prime Minister Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says.
"This is a protest organised by extremist elements," Erdogan said before departing on a trip to North Africa. "We will not give away anything to those who live arm-in-arm with terrorism."
On arrival in Rabat, flanked by Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, Erdogan blamed parties that had lost elections for the violence, which he predicted would be short-lived: "In a few days the situation will return to normal." (Reuters)
00:01 A.M. Thousands fill Taksim square and the surrounding streets; spirits are high. (Anshel Pfeffer)
11:30 P.M. Tear gas so strong it is penetrating hotel lobby. (Anshel Pfeffer)
10:34 P.M. Protestors are taking shelter from tear gas inside the InterContinental Hotel near Taksim Square. (Anshel Pfeffer)
10:22 P.M. Erdogan rejects protesters' demands that he would resign. "The protests weren't about the squares or the trees, some parties were not happy about results of the elections," Erdogan said late Monday while on a visit to Morocco. "The situation is a lot calmer now and reason seems to be prevailing. I think things will return to normal. These demonstrations are not all over Turkey, just in some big cities."
10:03 P.M. More than 2,300 people have been wounded and one person killed during four days of fierce clashes between protesters and police in Turkey. 1,480 have been wounded in Istanbul, some 800 in the capital Ankara. (DPA)
9:54 P.M. A police helicopter hovering above using a spotlight is greeted by the protesters with thistles and obscene gestures. Firing of tear gas grenades sounds closer by the minute (Anshel Pfeffer)
9:47 P.M. Thousands of protesters are barricading roads leading to Besiktas, most of them wearing gas masks. First casualties are being led up the road from Beskitas to Taksim. (Anshel Pfeffer)