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Erdogan raises the stakes in Turkey

13 June 2013

Yesterday Prime Minister Erdogan was considering the possibility of a referendum for the citizens of Istanbul to decide on what would happen about Gezi Park.

Today he struck a more aggressive tone saying that “lawbreakers” will be removed from Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

The Prime Minister issued a final warning to protesters today, demanding that they end their occupation of Gezi  Park next to Taksim Square. “We have arrived at the end of our patience,” Erdogan told local party leaders in Ankara, the capital.

He urged parents with children at the park to convince them to pack up and go home.

Erdogan also lashed out at the European Parliament over its non-binding resolution made yesterday. The EU Parliament expressed its concern over “the disproportionate and excessive use of force” by Turkish police.

The EU assembly said it “deplores the reactions of the Turkish Government and of Prime Minister Erdogan” and accused him of polarizing the situation even further.

Just minutes before the EU legislature voted, Erdogan declared: “I won’t recognize the decision that the European Union Parliament is going to take about us … Who do you think you are by taking such a decision?”

The United States today cautioned Turkish authorities against seeking to punish any demonstrators merely for exercising their right to free speech, in the latest of several statements that have been addressed during the ongoing Gezi Park protests.

In the latest twist to this dramatic tale, it has just been announced that Erdogan will hold a surprise second meeting in Ankara, on the fate of Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

Five names from the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which has been at the centre of the protests since the first day, are included in this second delegation, unlike the first group that met Erdogan yesterday, which was criticised as being unrepresentative.

The meeting is due to start at 10:30 p.m. local time.

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