Medics: First confirmed death in Turkey protests

Turkish doctor's association confirms death of 20-year-old man killed by taxi that rammed into demonstrators in Istanbul.

By REUTERS
June 3, 2013 17:13
2 minute read.
Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-government protest in Istanbul, June 1

Turkish anti-government protest 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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ISTANBUL - A 20-year-old Turkish man died when a taxi drove into a group of demonstrators on an Istanbul highway during an anti-government protest, Turkish doctors' association TBB said on Monday, the first known death related to the demonstrations.

The protester was named as Mehmet Ayvalitas, and TBB board member Huseyin Demirduzen said four other people were also injured, one of them seriously.

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According to Turkish daily Hurriyet, TBB released a statement accusing Erdogan of conducting a provocative agenda.

Hurriyet cited the TBB as calling on the government to restrain police forces and release detainees who had been remanded during protests.

Turkish protesters clashed with riot police into the early hours of Monday
with some setting fire to offices of the ruling AK Party as the fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years entered their fourth day.

Roads around Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office in Istanbul were sealed off as police fired teargas to push back protesters in the early hours of Monday.

Over a thousand people have reportedly been hurt in the protests.

The United States concerned by reports of excessive use of force by Turkish police, called for restraint and strongly supported the right to peaceful protests, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.

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"We are concerned by the reports of excessive use of force by police. We obviously hope that there will be a full investigation of those incidents and full restraint from the police force," Kerry said in a rebuke to NATO ally Turkey, which is grappling with some of its most violent riots in decades.

Erdogan called for calm on Monday, urging people not to be provoked by demonstrations he said had been organized by "extremist elements".

Turkey's fiercest anti-government unrest for years erupted when trees were torn down at a park in Taksim Square under government plans to construct a new mosque and rebuild a replica Ottoman-era barracks.

"This reaction is no longer about the ripping out 12 trees. This is based on ideology," said Erdogan, whose conservative vision for the nation has angered more liberal Turks. Referring to the planned mosque, he added: "Obviously I will not ask for permission for this from the head of CHP or a few looters."

JPost.com staff contibuted to this report.

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