US asks parties in Turkey to ‘calm the situation’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is calling for all parties in Turkey to “calm the situation” amid anti-government protests.

In a statement, spokeswoman Laura Lucas says the U.S. believes peaceful public demonstrations “are a part of democratic expression.” And she says Turkey’s long-term stability is best guaranteed by upholding “the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association.”

The White House statement in particular calls on security forces in Turkey to “exercise restraint.”

Thousands of people around Turkey have been protesting in the country’s fiercest anti-government demonstrations in years. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH’-jehp TY’-ihp UR’-doh-wahn) rejected claims that he is a “dictator,” dismissing protesters as an extremist fringe.

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