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article imageTurkish Prime Minister to meet with protest leaders

By Isabel Ivanescu     Jun 11, 2013 in World
Istanbul - Following growing unrest, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to meet with protest leaders and has softened rhetoric after referring to those who are discontent and organizing protests as "terrorist organizations."
The protests began on May 31st in Gezi Park on a small scale due to a plan to convert the popular park into replica Ottoman army barracks. These protest were quickly shut down by the police with the ample use or tear gas, however these actions only served to launch a new series of protests across Istanbul. Protests in the park continued, and branched out into Taskim Square. Police continue to try to shut them down, although with much more restraint than was shown at first.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as well as local authorities, spoke harshly against the protesters. In a speech Mr.Erdogan described the protests as "an uprising against the democratic administration" and said that if the protesters considered the current treatment harsh they should not expect any changes.
The majority of protesters in the square were peaceful, with many leaving as others began throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. The protesters were also from all walks of life, including students, intellectuals, secularists, and even women in headscarfs. As the week progressed people protested only for the park, as they had been, but instead in opposition to plans for further urbanization and development, a crackdown on alcohol, and what they see as a increasingly authoritarian government.
A tweet from a local governor stated that for now, the park will be left alone. On Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan consented to a meeting with rebel leaders, likely coming to the realization that further rhetoric and police confrontation will only incite further rage. However, police continue to stop protesters and take down banners, vowing not to stop until Taskim Square has been cleared. A meeting is necessary to address the concerns of the population, prevent growing unrest, and make sure that the small uprising does not get to the point where it might threaten Turkey's EU bid.
While these protests are some of the largest recently in Turkey, they should not be exaggerated, Mr.Erdogan is still a well liked and popularly supported leader who has been in power for about a decade.
More about Turkey, Tayyip erdogan, Turkish protests, taskim square
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