Turkey workers join anti-government protests

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ISTANBUL: One of Turkey’s main trade union confederations on Tuesday joined protests against the government, after another night of clashes between police and protesters in Istanbul and Ankara.

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Turkey’s Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) has called a two-day strike from Tuesday to protest against the police crackdown on demonstrators.

“The state terror implemented against entirely peaceful protests is continuing in a way that threatens civilians’ life safety,” the KESK said on Monday in a statement on its website.

The police crackdown showed the Islamist-rooted government’s “enmity to democracy,” it said.

The left-leaning confederation has some 240,000 members in 11 unions and the action will likely affect schools, universities and public offices across the country.

Turkish police and anti-government protesters clashed again in Istanbul early Tuesday, as the reported death toll from nationwide protests rose to two.

Riot police fired tear gas at protestors who burned cars, hurled stones and bellowed angry slogans into the early hours. Similar scenes played out in the capital Ankara.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had already left on a trip to Morocco, had insisted on Monday the situation was calming down.

He rejected talk of a “Turkish Spring” uprising by Turks who accuse him of trying to impose Islamic reforms on the secular state.

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