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Turkey sees anti-corruption protests for second day

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 - 6:40pm IST | Place: Istanbul | Agency: AFP

  • Anti-corruption-protests-in-Turkey Supporters of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) shout slogans against the government during a demonstration on February 26, 2014 on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. AFP

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Turkey's two main cities for the second consecutive day on Wednesday in protest against Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government after corruption allegations against the prime minister surfaced.

Demonstrators gathered in Istanbul's central Taksim Square as well as in central Ankara. It followed protests the previous day in six Turkish cities – Istanbul, Ankara, Trabzon, Sakarya, Izmir and Eskisehir.

Wednesday's protests were organised by the main opposition Republican People Party (CHP) after leaked recordings of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son allegedly discussing how to hide large sums of money became public late on Monday.

Erdogan has angrily dismissed the recordings as a "vile attack" by political rivals, but that did not seem to convince protesters who chanted "There are thieves!" and "Government resign!".

Demonstrators also shouted "Everywhere is bribery! Everywhere is corruption!", a play on a popular chant often heard during the huge anti-government protests that took over the Taksim Square in June, "Everywhere is Taksim! Everywhere resistance!".

On Tuesday, protestors burnt barricades and threw fireworks and rocks at police officers in Istanbul. Police fired plastic bullets and tear gas.

Mustafa Sarigul, CHP's candidate for Istanbul mayor – the biggest prize in the March 30 elections – called on the government to resign and the media of the "democratic world" to demonstrate what was happening in the country.

The party officials handed out fake money amounting to €30 million ($41 million) – a reference to the leaked recordings – before the crowd dispersed without any violence.

In one recording, Erdogan's son Bilal can supposedly be heard saying some €30 million remains to be disposed of. The conversations were said to have taken place on December 17, when a high-level corruption probe implicating key Erdogan allies erupted.

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