Joe Parkinson and Emre Peker
Wall Street Journal
June 11, 2013

Turkey’s prime minister defended a police push to clear protesters from a central square in Istanbul on Tuesday that sparked clashes in the heart of the city, following more than two weeks of nationwide demonstrations.

Security forces moved into Taksim Square, the Istanbul epicenter of protests, around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, firing tear gas and water cannons, while protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails. Battalions of police, which had ceded control of Taksim the day after nationwide protests flared May 31, were positioned around the square’s perimeter by 8 a.m.

As clashes began to break out and scenes from the square broadcast live on television, Turkey’s currency sank to fresh 2011 lows, prompting the central bank to intervene to stabilize the lira.

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