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Turkish Deputy PM welcomes democratic protests, warns against violence


08:25, June 05, 2013

ANKARA, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's deputy prime minister said Tuesday that the government respects "democratic demands" of its citizens "as long as they abstained from violence" in response to the weeklong nationwide protests.

Bulent Arinc said the initial sit-in in Istanbul against demolishing a park in Taksim Square was "legitimate and patriotic" but the demonstrators let some "marginal and illegal groups" take advantage of them and turn their cause into violent protests.

"I apologize for those who gathered with sincere feelings in Gezi (Park), But I don't owe any apology to others," Arinc said, when asked by reporters if the government would offer apologies to citizens subjected to the police' violent crackdown on the protests.

Responding to the growing concern about the imposed policies of the Turkish government, Arinc said "Turkey's biggest wealth is its differences. Our government respects and is sensitive toward different lifestyles."

The deputy minister also said he would meet some of the original organizers of last week's sit-in in Istanbul to resolve the current unrest in the country.

In Istanbul, some 100,000 people took to the streets over the weekend. Some protesters tried to attack the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the city, throwing stones at its windows, while others torched the offices of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

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