Activists call for probe into Turkish police chiefs

 

Istanbul

Activists presented Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister with a list of demands they said could end days of mass protests and clashes across the country, after a third demonstrator died.

In an attempt to diffuse tensions, Bulent Arinc met with a group representing some of the original protesters who staged last week’s peaceful sit-in in Istanbul, against the demolition of a park in the city. Police used tear gas and water cannon against the protesters, sparking a nationwide show of anger against the government and the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Protests continued today, as at least 29 people were detained in the coastal province of Izmir for “inciting the people to enmity and hate” on Twitter. Mr Erdogan has labelled social media “the biggest menace for society right now”.

Speaking with Mr Arinc, members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform demanded the government investigate police violence, ban police use of tear gas and release protesters detained during the clashes. It also called for plans to turn Istanbul’s Gezi Park into a commercial area be scrapped, along with proposals to demolish the city’s Atatürk Cultural Centre. “The fate of the protests depends on the government’s next steps,” platform members said after their meeting with Mr Arinc, in the absence of Mr Erdogan, who left Turkey this week on a state visit to North Africa.

Meanwhile, in Ankara, Ethem Sarisuluk was confirmed as the third person killed during the protests, after suffering a head injury, the Turkish Medical Association said.

“They started this… about the park, but now it has gone beyond that, people here are very angry against the government,” said Efe Potoy, a 30-year-old cook from Istanbul, who joined the protests on Saturday and is now staying in Gezi park. As he spoke, scores of people chanted “Erdogan istifa!” (Erdogan resign!).

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