Istanbul came to a standstill on Sunday as an army of riot police and gendarmerie cordoned off streets and use teargas on protesters in the centre of the city while the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, staged a rally before hundreds of thousands of supporters at the waterfront.
ginning of the month, Erdogan ditched all efforts at conciliation at a rally of his Justice and Development party (AKP).
“Taksim is not Turkey,” Erdogan declared, in a reference to the city centre square ringed off by riot police on Sunday evening as thousands of demonstrators sought to converge there.
Erdogan’s confrontational style, his divisive rhetoric and the extreme force used by the police on victims including young children, with one pregnant woman losing her baby on Saturday evening, have tarnished his credentials internationally as a reformist Muslim leader.
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