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Turkey minister declares strike 'illegal'

Turkey minister declares strike 'illegal'
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The Turkish interior minister has declared a nationwide strike “illegal” and threatened to suppress it.

Unions called the stoppage for Monday over the forced eviction of Istanbul’s Gezi Park and what they described as “police violence.”

After a weekend of clashes there is a strong police presence, with access to the area restricted.

The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the crackdown but many are unconvinced.

“They say at the meeting yesterday he (the prime minister) cleaned the park and now (the) Istanbul public can come to the park. But there is no public in the park. And he only lies. Big lies,” said a hotel employee called Tolgar.

“We don’t want him, we don’t want this kind of life. We want it free,” added Selim, who works in a bank.

Tens of thousands of Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters turned up to a rally in Istanbul on Sunday to hear the prime minister dismiss claims that he was behaving like a dictator.

He vowed to identify those he said had terrorised the streets. But for his opponents the police are to blame for the violence.

Hundreds of people were arrested amid clashes in Istanbul and Ankara on Sunday.

The Turkish Medical Association described the use of tear gas in particular as “savage”.

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