Turkish Gov't Offers Apology as Protests Continue

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's deputy prime minister is offering an apology for a violent crackdown on an environmental protest, calling it "wrong and unjust."

But it's unclear whether the apology represents the government line.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on a trip to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia right now. He previously labeled the protesters as "looters" and dismissed the demonstrations as acts of fringe extremists. Erdogan also has a history of undermining statements by his ministers.

Meanwhile, anti-government rallies continue across the country today, and hundreds of riot police have been deployed around the prime minister's office in the capital.

The unrest began Friday when police carried out a pre-dawn raid against a peaceful sit-in protesting plans to uproot trees in Istanbul's main square. The action sparked nationwide demonstrations involving mostly secular-minded Turks who have been denouncing Erdogan for what they say is an aggressive and authoritarian governing style.

One man died during a protest in a city near the border with Syria, but officials have given conflicting reports on what caused his death.

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