ISTANBUL — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened the protests in Brazil to those in Turkey, accusing the organizers of seeking to undermine government authority.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Erdogan are struggling to contain protests that began as fights against higher bus fares or to protect a park and have since swelled into broader movements. The Turkish premier, whose plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul triggered demonstrations, said clashes in both countries were orchestrated by international media and social networks.
“Right now, the same game is being played in Brazil,” Erdogan told supporters in the northern province of Samsun yesterday. “The symbols are the same, the posters are the same. Same Twitter, same Facebook, same international media. They are being controlled by the same center.”
The turmoil has battered financial markets in Brazil and Turkey. The losses deepened amid an emerging markets selloff after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it may start phasing out bond purchases this year. While Turkey’s unrest centers around what critics say is Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule, Brazil’s turmoil highlights discontent among the nation’s middle class as a pick-up in inflation threatens to erode gains from recent economic growth.
Turkey’s crisis started as a protest against the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul before turning into movement against Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party. The protesters were only damaging the Turkish economy and playing into the hands of an “interest rate lobby,” Erdogan said.
“Who lost due to the rallies? Although the losses were limited, naturally Turkey’s economy has lost, Turkey’s tourism has lost,” Erdogan continued.
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