The anti-government protests and clashes with police continued on Monday. There were mass protests in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other cities. A 22-year old man died in hospital after he was shot during a demonstration in the province of Hatay in southern Turkey, NTV reported.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who went ahead with a trip to North Africa on Monday, remained defiant and accused the main opposition party CHP of provoking citizens and acting together with what he calls extremists. Erdogan, who seemed to play down the significance of the events, said that the protestors were a marginal group. The PM also rejects any comparisons between the Arab Spring and the unrest in Turkey. In a few days, the situation will return to normal, Erdogan said.
Meanwhile PM Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul disagree over how to respond to the unrest. Against Erdogan’s rather confrontational stance, Gul took a more conciliatory line. Daily Milliyet reported that Gul asked police chiefs in Ankara not to use tear gas. On Monday, Gul called for calm and said that the protestors’ message has been received. Democracy does not mean elections alone, Gul said. Democracy means elections, Erdogan responded from Morocco.
The left-wing Public Workers Unions Confederation (KESK), representing thousands of public workers, said on Monday that it is set to hold a two-day strike to support the protestors. The strike will affect schools, universities and government offices.
The Obama administration is very concerned about Turkey's crackdown on protestors and is urging authorities to exercise restraint and all sides to refrain from violence, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, according to AP.
Turkish markets tumbled on Monday; stocks fell 10%, TRY hit its lowest level against USD since late 2011, bond yields jumped to 6.47% from 5.61% on Friday.
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