Turks stage protests demanding PM's resignation
Updated: 2014-02-26 09:32
Demonstrators take cover from a police water cannon as fireworks, thrown by other protesters, explode around them during a demonstration against the opening of a new road including a part of the Middle East Technical University campus in Ankara February 25, 2014. Erdogan opened the road across the Middle East Technical University campus and uprooting a large number of trees in the area in Ankara on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]
ANKARA/ISTANBUL - A leaked audio recording of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and his son, allegedly discussing how to hide large sums of cash amid an ongoing graft probe, has sent shockwaves through the country, with many Turks taking to the streets to stage protests demanding Erdogan's resignation.
PROTESTS ACROSS TURKEY
Thousands of people took to the streets in 11 cities of Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Antakya, Samsun, Trabzon, Eskisehir, Kocaeli, Bursa and Canakkale.
In Ankara, protesters shouted slogans, chanting "the government resigns", "thief Erdogan" in protest at the government. Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse the several hundred protesters.
In Istanbul the protests have been held in 10 different locations. The biggest crowd gathered in Istanbul's Asian district of Kadikoy.
Some 5,000 people shouted anti-government slogans as they marched toward the district center. Holding banners with slogans like "Where are the thieves," "You will answer to the people," and "Everywhere robbery, everywhere corruption," the anger on the street was visible.
In Istanbul, Bursa and Eskisehir riot police clashed with the protesters.
In Bursa, police tried to prevent the crowd from marching toward the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Headquarters.
In Eskisehir police dispersed protesters by firing water cannons and rubber bullets and in Kocaeli, protesters threw eggs at the AKP's headquarters breaking the windows of the building.
PM DENIES LEAKED RECORDING
The audio recordings disclosed on the internet on late Monday suggesting the Turkish prime minister ordering his son Bilal Erdogan to dispose vast amount of cash just after a graft probe launched on December 17 when police raided sons of three ministers, local media reported.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, and Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar had to resign in December when their sons were accused of being involved in corruption.
Erdogan has rejected the allegations, labeling the leaked recordings as "fake".
The leaked recording is "vile attack" that won't go unpunished, he said on Tuesday addressing his lawmakers at a parliament session.
He described the recordings as part of "efforts to overthrow the government", saying, "this coup attempt will not remain unanswered".
The government would bring legal action against these wiretapping activities, the prime minister stressed.
OPPOSITION URGES PM'S RESIGNATION
Turkish opposition parties have asked the prime minister to resign and called on judicial bodies to investigate into the allegations of corruption.
The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, claimed that the leaked phone conversation is genuine, contending his party has examined the recording along with voice experts.
On the other hand, Erdogan's ruling AKP party said that it had established a commission to examine the voice tape and the party would take action on the commission's findings.
Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Chairman Selahattin Demirtas, for his part, called on the prime minister to allow technical analysis on the audio tape.