City police, not riot police, burned protest tents in Istanbul park

June 20, 2013 at 3:20 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, June 20 (UPI) -- Five people, including four Istanbul, Turkey, municipal police officers, have been suspended for burning protesters' tents in Gezi Park, officials say.

Demonstrators had set up the tents during protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plan to demolish Gezi Park for construction of a mall. The protests led to nationwide demonstrations that ended with Erdogan ordering riot police to clear the park.

Some protesters claimed riot police set fire to tents in the park, but an investigation found four municipal officers and an assistant technician burned the tents, Today's Zaman reported Thursday.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday Turkey had turned "a very critical" corner in the way it resolved the demonstrations, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Davutoglu said he asked embassies to submit reports about how the protests had been perceived abroad. He asked that the reports describe "which efforts these countries took to create a perception against Turkey and which instruments were used in this process."

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