Turkish Govt Apologizes to Injured DemonstratorsWorld | June 4, 2013, Tuesday // 14:08| views
The anti-government demonstrations in a number of Turkish cities continued until late Monday, with police using teargas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. Photo by EPA/BGNES
The Turkish government has issued Tuesday an official apology to citizens who have been injured during clashes between police and demonstrators.
"I apologize to those who became subject to violence over their concerns about the environment," the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Arinc has said.
He called the initial protest "just," and accused the police of flaring the protests by their use of teargas and water cannons.
Arinc, however, asked citizens to put an end to the unrest as early as Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, he also offered to meet the organizers of the protests against the Gezi Park redevelopment.
The anti-government demonstrations in a number of Turkish cities continued until late Monday, with police using teargas and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
Against the backdrop of the tensions, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan headed for Morocco, where he issued a statement saying that things would go back to normal within days.
The protests began on May 28 over plans to redevelop Gezi Park near Taksim Square in Istanbul.
The rallies spread quickly, engulfing a number of major cities, and eventually turned into demonstrations against the authoritarian and Islamic-leaning policy of the Turkish government.
According to reports of Turkish officials, the rallies have so far resulted in over 1700 arrests in rallies in 67 towns and cities, though many have since been released.
It was reported meanwhile that the number of people injured in clashes with police during mass protest rallies in three large cities - Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and Izmir - has reached 3 500 people.
There have been two officially reported fatalities - a 22-year-old man died in hospital Tuesday after being shot during a rally in southern Turkey and a 20-year-old man was killed Monday when a taxi ran into a group of protesters on an Istanbul highway.
According to social networks posts, the rallies are to continue Tuesday evening.
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