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Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.



NPR's Ivan Watson has more from Istanbul.

IVAN WATSON: Gul responded in an appearance on Turkish state television late today. Seated next to a photograph of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic.

ABDULLAH GUL: (Through translator) I have been Turkey's foreign minister for four and a half years. I represent Turkey to the entire world. If I cannot be trusted, there are not many people in Turkey who can be trusted.

WATSON: Gul urged lawmakers to make another attempt to hold the presidential election. If they again fail to reach a quorum, he said, parliament should be dissolved and general election should be held as soon as possible.

MEHMET ALI BIRAND: Don't try to understand logically what's going on in my country. There is no logic.


WATSON: Mehmet Ali Birand is a Turkish TV anchorman and columnist.

ALI BIRAND: There is a power struggle between secular forces and a more religiously conservative forces.

WATSON: Again, journalist Mehmet Ali Birand.

ALI BIRAND: The problem is that we don't have a strong opposition. We don't have a very organized opposition. The opposition is on the street. People on the street is shouting and they're making life miserable to the government party, not just the opposition itself.

WATSON: As the political drama unfolded in Ankara, the Turkish capital, an unrelated crisis ground life to a halt here in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.


WATSON: More than 10,000 riot police backed by helicopters clashed with leftist protesters holding an illegal May Day demonstration. Police fired teargas and were seen kicking, and clubbing unarmed demonstrators.


WATSON: Ivan Watson, NPR News, Istanbul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.