Erdogan threatens lawsuit against Times of London over critical letter

Turkish Prime Minister TayyipErdogan on Friday threatened to sue the Times of London forpublishing an open letter by a group of celebrities, academicsand others criticizing his handling of anti-government protests.

Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Ben Kingsley were among thosewho signed the letter that accused Erdogan's government thisweek of "dictatorial rule" and of causing the deaths of fiveprotesters who died after clashes with police.

"The press wants to throw mud to see if it sticks. The Timesis renting out its own pages for money," Erdogan told reportersin 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 thecountry's fiercest anti-government demonstrations in decades inIstanbul, Ankara and other major cities beginning in late May.

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