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Turkish Deputy PM: Jewish diaspora ignited Gezi Park protests
July 2, 2013 11:50
Official cites jealousy of Turkey as motive for sparking unrest.
Anti-government protesters shout slogans as they stand on barricades in Istanbul June 16, 2013.

Turkey protestors on barricades 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Serkan Senturk)

A deputy of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Jewish diaspora and foreign powers of setting off the unrest that has hit the country in the last month, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Tuesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay was quoted by the paper as saying, "There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side the Jewish diaspora. You saw the foreign media’s attitude during the Gezi Park incidents; they bought it and started broadcasting immediately, without doing an evaluation.”

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The protests broke out in early June in Istanbul when police used force and tear gas to disperse environmental activists demonstrating against a government plan to develop a mosque and shops at Istanbul's' Gezi Park in the city's Taksim Square.

The Turkish government, however, has suggested that the protests are part of a plot against the country, involving foreign governments and financial institutions.

Earlier this month, Hurriyet quoted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as hinting that Israel was "delighted" with the protests.

According to Hurriyet, Erdogan said that "we had foreseen these events [the protests] as a series of conspiracies three months ago," even if the way in which the events unfolded was not predicted. "We had received some intelligence reports," he said.

Officials in Ankara have said that foreign governments are helping to foment unrest in order to slow down the political and economic rise of Turkey.

Hurriyet reported last week that Turkey's intelligence service (MIT) has begun investigating alleged foreign links to the anti-government protests.
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