At the same time, during a visit to tunis, he again accused left-wing extremists of being behind the protests. "There are extremists among the demonstrators, some are linked to terrorism," erdogan said, according to media reports from tunis.
Police arrested seven foreigners in istanbul and ankara during protests, according to interior minister muammer guler. Among them was a german, the anadolu news agency quoted the minister in ankara as saying. In addition, two frenchmen, two iranians, a greek and a US citizen are in custody. Turkish media reported that the foreigners were accused of taking part in the demonstrations as provocateurs. Turkish reports that some of those arrested have diplomatic passports are false, according to guler.
The minister said that 915 people have been injured so far. Four people are in a critical condition, eight others are being treated in intensive care units. Guler put the damage to property so far at more than 70 million turkish lira (about 28 million euros). The number of dead in the protests rose to four, according to reports in several newspapers, after a police officer fell to his death from a bridge during an operation against demonstrators in adana.
The wave of protests had been ignited by the brutal clearing of a protest camp in gezi park. In the meantime, the demonstrations are mainly directed against the increasingly authoritarian course of erdogan and his islamic-conservative AKP.
A replica of an ottoman barracks is planned in gezi park, which will house stores and apartments. "Was there once an ottoman barracks of artillery or not? Yes, and it was a historic building," erdogan said in tunis. "Why is there resistance to the project?? Because it comes from the AKP."
In istanbul, tens of thousands of people again protested against erdogan during the night around the central taksim square. Demonstrations continued on thursday. The german arrested during the protests had entered turkey as a tourist. He was expected to be deported.
The newspaper "zaman" reports that gas cartridges and firecrackers were found in some of those arrested. The islamist newspaper "yeni akit" presented the case to its readers on the front page as evidence of an attempted attack and foreign interference. Erdogan had said at the beginning of the week that foreign groups were behind the protests and that the intelligence service was on their trail. The newspaper "radical" reported that among the arrested foreigners were students of the erasmus program of the european union.