Turkish PM warns protesters to leave park
Turkey’s prime minister has given a “final warning” for protesters to leave Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police would remove all “troublemakers” from the square within 24 hours.
Turkey’s government said it may be willing to put to referendum the question of building in a public park – the issue that sparked violent anti-government protests two weeks ago.
Erdogan said the protesters are deliberately trying to damage Turkey’s image and economy.
The prime minister met with a delegation of protesters Wednesday. However, many of the other demonstrators brushed off the talks, saying the government hand-picked the delegation.
Government plans to tear up an Istanbul park and build a shipping center set off the protests. They quickly built up into marches against the government and Mr. Erdogan. The opposition accuses him of imposing his conservative Islamic views on secular Turks.
Riot police have used tear gas, water cannons, and stun grenades to drive off the marchers in Istanbul and Ankara. Four people have died, about 5,000 people hurt and thousands of others arrested.