Turkish PM admits excessive use of force in crackdown

Updated: 2013-06-01 21:08


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ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged on Saturday that police had used excessive force in cracking down recent demonstrations.

Thousands of people have been protesting against the government's plan to demolish a park in Istanbul. The police have allegedly used tear gas and pressurized water against protesters, resulting in many injuries.

"There was a mistake while using pepper gas by police forces. I have ordered the Interior Ministry to investigate this. It was excessive," Erdogan said at the general assembly of the Turkish Exporters Assembly on Saturday.

Erdogan refused to withdraw police from Taksim Square, urging the protesters to immediately end such demonstrations.

Noting that citizens have the right to demonstrate, the Turkish prime minister, however, said that "Nobody has the right to raise tension in this country."

Earlier Saturday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that people should have been told what was going to be done in Taksim Square rather than being pepper sprayed.

The nationwide demonstrations were triggered when the police broke up a peaceful sit-in against the demolition on Friday. Twelve protesters were injured and at least 63 people detained on Friday, according to Istanbul Governor's Office.