(ANKARA, Turkey) — The government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be preparing to step up, not dial down, clashes with demonstrators protesting his regime over what they say is Turkey’s move to authoritarianism.
For the first time since the civil unrest began two-and-a-half weeks ago, Erdogan is threatening to bring in the military to drive protesters off the streets of Turkish cities.
Up to now, the government has deployed riot police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to break what Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has referred to as “illegal” demonstrations.”
However, the possibility of more violence, which has led to five deaths and more than 5,000 people injured since May 31, did not keep thousands of labor union workers from marching in sympathy with the demonstrators during rallies in Ankara Monday that were largely peaceful.
Back in Istanbul, police have locked down Taksim Square, which became the gathering place for protesters after a small demonstration about the redevelopment of nearby Gezi Park touched off the wide criticism of the Erdogan regime.
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