- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nearly a quarter of a million trade union members have jumped into the anti-government protests in Turkey, calling for two-day work strikes to send a message to the “fascism” of the leading political party.

The protests now target Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the formal face of the government. The protests began a couple weeks ago at a popular park that’s soon to become the location of a contested shopping mall, CNN reported.

The entrance of the unions and their 240,000 members into the protest has ratcheted what’s already become a violent and long-running rally, leading to the arrest and injury of hundreds. Union leaders are uniting the various protest groups under a common message, CNN reported.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Tuesday issued an apology “for the police aggression against our citizens who were involved in the initial protests and acted with environmental concern,” in response to the police unleashing of water canons and tear gas over recent days, CNN said.

At the same time, Mr. Arinc said, CNN reported: “I don’t think we owe an apology to those who caused destruction on the streets and who interfered with people’s freedom.”

Turkish medical officials estimate 3,195 have been injured in the clashes so far, and at least two have died, CNN reported.

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