Iran rejects media claims of involvement in Turkey unrest

kaffash20130605145200117Reacting to reports about the arrest of an Iranian national in connection with violent demonstrations in Turkey, Iran has officially dismissed media claims that the Islamic Republic is linked to the ongoing protests in Turkey.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi denied the country’s involvement in Turkey’s anti-government protests, saying, “We also learned about this through media.”

Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported on Tuesday that an Iranian national named Shayan Shamlou had been arrested on suspicion of provoking Turkish protesters in Ankara.

Authorities in Turkey also suspect that Shamlou has links with the Iranian intelligence service, the newspaper cited an unnamed source with the Turkish government as saying.

“We have officially asked the Turkish government for an explanation in this regard and about the accuracy of the report, and we have asked [Ankara] to provide us with consular access to this person if his Iranian nationality is proven…,” the Iranian diplomat said.

At least four people have been killed and more than a thousand injured since the outbreak of anti-government protests in Turkey on May 31. Authorities say over 2,000 people have been also detained.

The unrest in the country erupted after police broke up a sit-in which was held in Taksim Square in protest against the planned demolition of Gezi Park. The protesters said Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is Istanbul’s last public green space.

Two major trade union confederations with about 600,000 union members, have gone on a two-day strike since Tuesday to voice support for the protesters who are standing their ground despite police crackdown.

Araqchi had previously described the unrest in Turkey as an internal matter and expressed hope that it would be settled in a peaceful manner with the prudence of the Turkish leaders.

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