Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan on Friday threatened to sue the Times of London for
publishing an open letter by a group of celebrities, academics
and others criticizing his handling of anti-government protests.
Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Ben Kingsley were among those
who signed the letter that accused Erdogan's government this
week of "dictatorial rule" and of causing the deaths of five
protesters who died after clashes with police.
"The press wants to throw mud to see if it sticks. The Times
is renting out its own pages for money," Erdogan told reporters
in comments broadcast live by NTV channel. "This is the Times'
failing. We will pursue legal channels regarding the Times."
Protesters demanded Erdogan resign as they staged the
country's fiercest anti-government demonstrations in decades in
Istanbul, Ankara and other major cities beginning in late May.