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Turkey: Opposition wants early elections
June 8, 2013, 3:07 pm

Thousands of Turks have continued to protest against Erdogan's heavy-handed measures [Xinhua]

Thousands of Turks have continued to protest against Erdogan’s heavy-handed measures [Xinhua]

Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli on Saturday called for early elections in the country to overcome the current “deadlock.”

Bahceli said during a MHP meeting that the reason behind the recent protests across the country triggered by a government plan to rejuvenate Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square is the government’s “flawed understanding of democracy.”

“There is no way left other than elections to overcome the current deadlock,” Bahceli said, adding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance and the tumult have deepened the crisis.

Meanwhile, clashes between protesters and police erupted in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Gazi late Friday as demonstrations sparked by the demolition of Gezi Park continued for the 12th day, private Dogan news agency reported on Saturday.

Police attacked a group of around 5,000 protesters that had erected barricades on the road with tear gas and water cannon, said the report, adding that the protesters reportedly responded with fireworks and slingshots.

Tension has also risen in the suburb of Istanbul, a neighborhood that is known for its oppositional sentiment and its high Alevi population.

Turkish people protested against the demolition of Taksim’s Gezi Park over a week ago, which later turned into clashes between police and protesters.

The anti-government protests have spread to 67 provinces, including Ankara and coastal cities of Antalya and Izmir. Three people have been killed and more than 4,000 injured in the clashes. Thousands have been detained by security forces.