Turkish president urges dialogue

2013-06-12 15:12
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Protests continue in Turkey

See the latest pictures from the escalating violence in Turkey as protestors continue to clash with police.

Ankara - Turkish President Abdullah Gul called on Wednesday for dialogue with legitimate demonstrators against the redevelopment of an Istanbul park but said those who had taken to the streets in violent protests were a different matter.

Gul spoke a day after riot police fired tear gas and water cannon almost without a break for more than 18 hours to clear thousands of people from Taksim Square, the focus of nearly two weeks of protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan, who has repeatedly dismissed the demonstrators as "riff-raff", was expected to meet a group of public figures to discuss the unrest, which began as a peaceful campaign against plans to build on Gezi Park abutting the square.

"If people have objections ... then to engage in a dialogue with these people, to hear out what they say is no doubt our duty," Gul told reporters during a trip to the coastal Black Sea city of Rize.

Gul has generally taken a more conciliatory tone than Erdogan during the unrest, but he appeared to close ranks with the prime minister on Wednesday, saying violence on the streets would not be tolerated.

"Those who employ violence are something different and we have to distinguish them ... We must not give violence a chance ... This would not be allowed in New York, this would not be allowed in Berlin," Gul said.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  abdullah gul  |  turkey  |  turkey protests

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