June 9 - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan slams protesters for their behavior as thousands of people gather in Ankara to show him support. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
They have been on the streets for more than a week in Turkey. Tens of thousands have taken part -- becoming part of a movemenet that began with a protests over the fate of a park in Istanbul. Clashes have erupted -- thousands have been injured and at least three people have been killed. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is defiant, saying vandalism has nothing to do with freedom. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "Youth that curses their own prime minister cannot be my youth. Young people who are writing graffiti with curses cannot be described as youth asking for their rights. People that are vandalising local shops and malls cannot be the youth of this country defending their rights." He still has plenty of support and is still by far the country's most popular politician. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "If you are confident about your ideas, about thoughts don't be afraid of freedom of thought. If you want freedom for yourself, do not confiscate the freedom of others." The Prime Minsiter has also made clear he plans no early elections. Some protesters say even an election is not enough. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER METIN GOKSOL, SAYING "The prime minister is saying that the answer must be given at the ballot box. But the ballot box would only mean justification of what they are doing right now. The real deal is to break down the ballot box, boycott the elections and stay on the streets." Erdogan has enacted many democratic reforms, but in recent years, his critics say his style, always forceful and emotional, has become authoritarian.