Erdogan defends protest crackdown

Reuters

by Reuters

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A quiet morning in Istanbul's Taksim Square after days of clashes between security forces and protesters.

On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan defended the police operation that cleared the downtown area using tear gas and water cannons.

(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING:

"We did whatever we had to in a state of law," he said. "We have cleared out Taksim Square and Gezi Park from these invaders. You know they have destroyed everything."

He said the unrest had cost the state more than $53 million dollars.

It has also claimed four lives and left thousands injured.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL RESIDENT, SENAM SARACH, SAYING:

"They call the protesters provocateurs, but I think the government and the prime minister are the biggest provocateurs. They don't see these people, they don't understand, they don't want to see what these people are looking for."

A defiant few returned to the square on Tues

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