An­gry protests at Down­ing Street as PM meets ‘dic­ta­tor’ Er­do­gan

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY DAVID HUGHES

PRO­TEST­ERS gath­ered out­side Down­ing Street yes­ter­day in op­po­si­tion to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s meet­ing with Theresa May.

Ahead of the event at Num­ber 10, crit­ics ac­cused the Prime Min­is­ter of cosy­ing up to a to­tal­i­tar­ian leader for eco­nomic rea­sons.

Demon­stra­tors chanted “Turk­ish state, fas­cist state” through a pub­lic ad­dress sys­tem and waved ban­ners op­po­site the gates to Down­ing Street brand­ing Mr Er­do­gan a ter­ror­ist.

Pro-Kur­dish groups raised con­cerns about hu­man rights abuses by Mr Er­do­gan’s government.

They also urged Mrs May to dis­tance her­self from the Turk­ish leader, who has been ac­cused of purg­ing op­po­nents, sack­ing thou­sands of of­fi­cials and jailing crit­ics and jour­nal­ists.

Kur­dish woman Meryl (27), from Lon­don, who did not want to give her sur­name for fear of reprisal, was among scores of pro­test­ers out­side Down­ing Street ahead of the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent’s ar­rival.

“He is lit­er­ally killing hu­mans: Kur­dish chil­dren, ba­bies, ev­ery hu­man be­ing,” she said.

Fel­low pro­tester Fero Fi­rat said: “Er­do­gan is very au­thor­i­tar­ian and he wants to be one man rul­ing ev­ery as­pect of life in Turkey.”

Mr Er­do­gan walked into Down­ing Street from the For­eign Of­fice, avoid­ing noisy protests in White­hall.

The Prime Min­is­ter shook hands and posed for pho­to­graphs with the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent out­side No 10 as demon­stra­tors shouted slo­gans.

He ear­lier vis­ited Buck­ing­ham Palace for an au­di­ence with the Queen on the last day of a three­day visit to Bri­tain.

In­side No 10, Mrs May fo­cused on trade, de­fence and Syria.

Around 250 jour­nal­ists and me­dia work­ers are in jail in Turkey.

The So­ci­ety of Ed­i­tors had writ­ten to the Prime Min­is­ter ahead of Mr Er­do­gan’s visit, urg­ing Mrs May to raise the “very real con­cerns” around press free­dom in Turkey.

Anti-Er­do­gan pro­test­ers demon­strate out­side Down­ing Street

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