Turkey's Erdogan Unmoved as 2nd Protestor Killed

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Morocco Monday the situation would return to normal in a few days.

The demonstrations began last Friday with a peaceful sit-in protesting Erdogan's plan to tear down Taksim Square, a popular public park in Istanbul, chop down 600 trees and build yet another mosque there.

Police attacked demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas, which brought out thousands more protestors over the weekend who accused Erdogan of being a "dictator" and called on him to resign.

Erdogan dismissed the charges in televised speeches, calling himself "the servant of the people."

Two demonstrators were killed Monday, the first when a taxi plowed into a group on a highway in Istanbul and the second shot in the head in Antakya near the border with Syria. Both were in their early 20s.

Boaz Bismuth, an Israeli political analyst, says the demonstrations have "dealt a serious blow" to the seemingly popular prime minister.

"The massive protests, in which a wide range of ideological groups have taken part, are a warning to Erdogan," Bismuth wrote.

While he thinks it's unlikely Erdogan will suffer the same fate as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he says his "dream of becoming president in 2014…no longer looks as certain."

"How ironic it is that Erdogan, who lectured Arab leaders about morality during the Arab Spring, let his security forces use excessive force in dispersing protestors," Bismuth said.

Since taking office in 2003, Erdogan has steadily prodded the population toward Islamist lifestyle, by restricting the sale of alcoholic beverages, calling on women to behave more modestly, etc.

Two weeks ago, Turks in Ankara held a "kiss in" after subway officials called on passengers "to act in accordance with moral rules" when security cameras caught a couple kissing on the train.

"This is also the same Erogan who recommended that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi separate religion and state," Bismuth noted.

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