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Erdogan Again Calls Demonstrators 'Looters'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again condemned antigovernment protesters as "looters" and he called on supporters to "teach the protesters a lesson" during local elections next year.

Erdogan made the comments in the southern city of Adana, where pro- and antigovernment protesters clashed on the evening of June 8.

In a fiery speech from the top of a bus, Erdogan called on his supporters not to engage in violence, as Turkey sees its 10th day of demonstrations.

He then traveled to Mersin, where he made a similar speech and then opened a new sports facility.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators were in the streets of Istanbul on June 9, and there were demonstrations in Ankara, Izmir, and other cities.

In Istanbul, protesters burned tires and threw fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas.

The government on June 8 insisted that the protests were "under control."

Huseyin Celik, deputy chairman of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), told journalists in Istanbul that the government rejected protesters' calls for early elections.

"Some Turkish media outlets issued claims that early elections are going to be held. I have to say that those claims are completely unfounded, unnecessary. And these are fake stories," he said.

Celik also said the cabinet and the party will be meeting in the coming days to discuss how to react to the protests.

"We will continue the evaluation process of those [antigovernment protests] in our cabinet meeting on June 10, which will be chaired by our prime minister," he said. "And also on Tuesday (June 11) our party's central executive committee will gather and will also discuss this. And those meetings will shed a light on our path -- what to do or not to do in the coming days related to those events."

The nationwide protests were sparked by the government's use of force against a peaceful environmental demonstration in Istanbul on May 31.

Protesters now are complaining that Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian and Islamist during his decade in power.

Two protesters and one police officer have been killed during the 10 days of protests.

Turkey will hold local and presidential elections in 2014 and a general election the following year.

With reporting by AFP and AP