Turkey's PM warns against new street provocations

Photo: Turkey's PM warns against new street provocations / Turkey

Those who smell a victory for Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party in local elections this month are working to trigger street protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

During an election rally for his party, known in Turkey by the initials AK, in the southeastern province of Mardin, Erdogan warned listeners about possible street protests prior to the elections, which are scheduled for March 30. He called on the people and his political rivals to act in a patient and responsible way.

"Whatever issue you do have, solve them in election polls on March 30," Erdogan said.

Turkish streets have been tense since Tuesday, when a teenager injured during last summer's Gezi Park protests, succumbed to his injuries and died. He had been in a coma for 269 days.

The Gezi Park protests began as a small environmental demonstration and mushroomed into nationwide anti-government protests.

During his speech, Erdogan also referred to an anti-corruption operation, launched December 17, calling it a "conspiracy" orchestrated by followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

"Unfortunately, the opposition parties have danced to the conspirators' tunes throughout this process," the prime minister said.

The operation and subsequent probes into the activities of a number of high-ranking figures considered to be allies of the government have had a significant effect on Turkey's political atmosphere.

The Erdogan administration has decried the operation as a "dirty plot" targeting Turkey's stability and development.

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