June 13 - The economic cost from Turkey's riots has been put at 75 million liras (40 million USD) by Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, but as Hayley Platt reports businesses believe that's an under-estimate.
75 million Turkish lira that's 40 million dollars is today's daily digit - the estimated cost of damage from Turkey's on-going protests. Istanbul's Taksim Square has been at the centre of the violent clashes between police and demonstrators for the past two weeks. Umut Ozen is a local shopkeeper (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) SHOPKEEPER, UMUT OZEN SAYING: "We've closed two or three shops so far and business has fallen around 70-80 percent." Riot police fought running battles with pockets of anti-government protesters overnight on Wednesday, clearing Taksim Square. Several hundred remain camped in Gezi Park. Bendevi Palandoken is Chairman of the local shopkeepers union. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) CHAIRMAN OF THE UNION OF SHOPKEEPERS, BENDEVI PALANDOKEN, SAYING: ""The Prime Minister may say the damage will cost 75 million liras but we believe it exceeds that figure and there are also people who have lost their jobs." The protesters are angry about what they see as increased government authoritarianism. But Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan and his AKP party remain popular with the masses. Since they came to power in 2002 Turkey's economic growth has skyrocketed, largely from tourism. Turkey now the world's sixth most popular holiday destination contributing some $30 billion dollars to its economy.