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Turkey's PM says 'will not tolerate new deaths'

ISTANBUL -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his party would not tolerate any more violence, in the wake of mass protests this week in which two people died.

“We will not tolerate new waves of tension and death. We will never let the streets become battlegrounds,” Erdogan said at a speech in the province of Kocaeli near Istanbul.

“We do not want anyone to equip our youngsters with Molotov cocktails, stones and knives and send them to the streets,” he said.

Clashes erupted across the country following the death on Tuesday of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas canister fired by police during anti-government protests last year.

Elvan's story — he spent 269 days in a coma — became a symbol of the heavy-handed tactics used by police to quash the biggest protests that Erdogan had faced since coming to power in 2003.

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