Jun 10, 2013

    Turkey PM's party rules out early polls

    TURKISH police and anti-government protesters clashed in Ankara overnight, after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party ruled out early elections to defuse the worst political turmoil in at least a decade.

    The police used water cannons and pepper spray to disperse hundreds of protesters near Parliament and the United States Embassy in the capital.

    Demonstrators threw firebombs at security forces in Istanbul's low-income Gazi district, CNN-Turk television reported yesterday.

    Thousands of demonstrators plan to rally in Istanbul's Taksim Square, the epicentre of the anti-government movement.

    The unrest is Mr Erdogan's toughest test since taking office in 2003. Fitch Ratings said an escalation could damage the economy, whose turnaround from crisis to growth is the ruling party's biggest achievement.

    At least three people have died, including a policeman, while more than 1,400 people have been injured since clashes began on May 31, according to the government.