Turkish PM praises police ‘heroism’

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Turkey’s prime minister has brushed off criticism by human rights groups and some European countries, insisting police officers have displayed “legendary heroism” in quelling weeks of anti-government protests.

Addressing police academy graduates at a ceremony in Ankara on Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it was protesters - not police - that were violent, and praised the security forces for showing restraint.

The protests started off as a small environmental sit-in but quickly turned into a nationwide expression of discontent with Erdogan’s 10-year rule.

Erdogan has blamed the demonstrations on a foreign conspiracy to harm Turkey.

At least four people - three demonstrators and one police officer - have been killed. Human rights groups say police used excessive force on protesters.

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