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   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this month's local elections.
   In a late-night interview Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ATV station that his government is determined to stem the leaks he insists are being instigated by followers of an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric. He has accused supporters of Fethullah Gulen of infiltrating police and the judiciary and of engaging in "espionage," saying that the group even listened in on his encrypted telephone lines. The Gulen movement denies involvement.
   "We are determined on the issue, regardless of what the world may say," Erdogan said. "We won't allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering."
   Asked if the steps could include shutting those sites down, Erdogan replied: "That included. Because these people or institutions are (using social media) for all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage and spying."
   Erdogan this week acknowledged some of the leaked recordings, including two where he is heard meddling in a court case against a media proprietor and in a tender for the construction of warships. He has rejected as "fabrication" five recordings purported to be of Erdogan instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of money on the day that prosecutors and police carried out raids on the homes of three former ministers' sons as part of a corruption and bribery investigation.
   Erdogan, claiming to be a victim of a Gulen-orchestrated plot, has taken a series of steps to stall the corruption investigation, including removing hundreds of police officers and prosecutors and expanding government controls over the judiciary and the Internet. The new Internet restrictions sparked violent protests in Istanbul.
Published in National News
   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two Turkish citizens face federal smuggling charges for allegedly shipping tainted cancer treatment prescription drugs from Turkey and other foreign countries into Missouri.
   Federal prosecutors say OzKan Semizoglu and Sabahaddin Akman smuggled three shipments from Turkey to Chesterfield.
   A grand jury indictment filed Thursday in federal court says the pair falsely identified the shipments as gifts and documents with little or no monetary value. They are also charged with sending drugs requiring constant cold temperatures in packages without insulation, which could taint the medicine. They were arrested Thursday in Puerto Rico.
   Each faces one felony count of conspiracy to smuggle merchandise into the United States and three counts of smuggling.  Online court records did not list an attorney for either defendant.
 
Published in Local News

ISTANBUL (AP) — Riot police with water cannons and tear gas are hitting protesters who remain defiant after authorities evicted activists from an Istanbul park.

Sunday's clampdown indicated authorities were taking a hardline against attempts to rekindle the protests.

In Istanbul, police battled protesters in side streets off Gezi Park and beyond.

Meanwhile, what was left of the two-week sit-in was bulldozed and police sealed off the area. Hundreds of white-helmeted riot police swept through the park and adjacent Taksim Square yesterday to clear out the protesters.

In Ankara, the capital, police dispersed hundreds who tried to hold a memorial service for an activist who died of injuries sustained in a nearby police crackdown nearby on June 1.

Published in National News
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's state-run news agency says police are rounding up dozens of people suspected of membership in a left-wing militant group that has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara earlier this month.

It was the second major sweep against suspected members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, since January. It wasn't immediately clear if the arrests were directly linked to the embassy bombing which killed a Turkish security guard on Feb. 1.

The Anadolu Agency said Tuesday police were arresting dozens of people in 28 provinces across Turkey.

The DHKP-C has claimed responsibility for assassinations and bombings since the 1970s but had been relatively quiet in recent years.
Published in National News

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