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Turkey prime minister’s party rules out early elections as protests continue to rage

  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

    Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

    Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

    Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

  • Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters gather  around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters gather around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters gather  around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters gather around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during  a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during  a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013.  Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013.  Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • A protester  stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight  in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    A protester stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • A protester  stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight  in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    A protester stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

  • A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem  during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem  during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

    Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)
  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)
  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" celebrate in the rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)
  • Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters gather  around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters gather  around the Republic Monument during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during  a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters standing on top of Ataturk cultural center light flares during  a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013.  Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • A protester standing under a giant Turkish flag raises his hands during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013.  Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • A protester looks at fireworks exploding over Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • Protesters clash with police as a petrol bomb explodes at the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • A protester  stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight  in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • A protester  stands behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon vehicle turns on its spotlight  in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • A protester tries to remain standing behind a metal barrier as a police water cannon shoots water towards it in the Sultangazi suburb, northwestern Istanbul late Saturday, June 8, 2013. Tens of thousands of people thronged Istanbul's Taksim Square Saturday, and thousands more turned out in central Ankara as protests that have presented Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the first serious challenge to his leadership entered their second week.  (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem  during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • A protester gestures while singing Turkey's national anthem  during a protest at Taksim square in Istanbul Saturday, June 8 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara.(AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)
  • Turkish protesters, mostly soccer fans of Besiktas who call themselves "Carsi" wave a poster of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they celebrate in rain at the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 8, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened his party leadership Saturday as anti-government protests enter their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the main Kizilay Square in Ankara. (AP Photo / Burhan Ozbilici)

The police in Turkey’s capital of Ankara fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse thousands of people protesting near government buildings yesterday, as Turkey’s biggest wave of anti-government protests in decades entered its second week with no signs of waning.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party, meanwhile, rejected calls for early elections and dismissed the protests as an attempt by the opposition to topple the government.

The protests, sparked by outrage over a violent police action to oust an environmental protest in Isanbul’s Taksim Square on May 31, and which have spread to dozens of cities across Turkey, are the first serious challenge to Erdogan’s leadership.

Three people have died – two protesters and a police officer – and thousands have been injured so far.

The protests have become a general condemnation of Erdogan, whom many consider to have grown authoritarian in his 10 years in power, and accuse him of trying to introduce his religious and conservative mores in a country governed by secular laws.

He convened the leadership of his Justice and Development party to discuss the protests yesterday afternoon.

Speaking after the meeting, party spokesman Huseyin Celik said rumors that the 2015 general elections would be moved forward were “totally baseless, totally unnecessary, made-up and imaginary.”

Celik also accused the main opposition party of trying to topple Erdogan through illegitimate means, “having failed seven times to beat (the Justice party) in the ballot boxes.”

The head of Turkey’s nationalist party, Devlet Bahceli, had called for early elections for Erdogan to reaffirm his mandate.

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