Opposition to Erdogan unabated as protests shake Turkey (VIDEO)


Tear gas surrounds a protestor holding a Turkish flag with a portrait of the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as he takes part in a demonstration in support of protests in Istanbul and against the Turkish Prime Minister and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in Ankara, on June 1, 2013.



Protests against Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan entered their third day on Sunday, with Reuters reporting tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators hitting the streets in the nation's four largest cities. 

CNN described an "uneasy peace" in Istanbul's opposition-held Taksim Square on Sunday, a break after 36 hours of violent clashes between protesters and security officers, according to CNN.  

Meanwhile, the rebel internet hacker collective Anonymous on Sunday came out in support of the opposition with a #OpTurkey campaign targeting Turkish government websites. The group sent a video message to Erdogan saying, "be wise and step down." 

Protests erupted in Turkey on Friday over the planned demolition of a park to make way for a shopping mall, but activists told GlobalPost's Mariya Karimjee that anger towards Erdogan's leadership has much deeper root. 

"First they took away our right to demonstrate on May 1," 28-year-old student Muhtar Demishevi told GlobalPost, presumably referring to a government crackdown on May Day protests. "Now they are saying that we cannot even express our opinion."

Turkish authorities fired tire gas and used water cannons to disperse protesters at Taksim Square on Friday, reportedly injuring dozens

Turkey's semi-official Andalou News Agency said 700 people had been arrested since Tuesday, many of whom have since been released, and reported unrest in 67 of Turkey's 81 provinces, according to CNN

Erdogan says the unrest is politically motivated, telling local reporters: "The main opposition party which is making resistance calls on every street is provoking these protests ... This is about my ruling party, myself and the looming municipality elections in Istanbul and efforts to make the AK Party lose votes here," according to Reuters.

But he addressed calls for his resignation in a speech broadcast nationally on Sunday, saying: "I ask in the name of God, Tayyip Erdogan is a dictator? If you are the kind of person who can call someone who serves their people a dictator, then I have no words for you," the Turkish leader said, reported CNN

Here's a video report from CNN: