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Erdogan shelves shopping mall plan

8 June 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shelved plans to build a shopping mall at the controversial Gezi Park while calling for an end to more than 10-day protests during his speech at the Ministry of European Affairs Istanbul conference on June 7.

Erdogan repeated willingness to discuss “democratic rights,” saying, “The shopping mall is not possible in the Artillery Barracks anyway, given the measures. We told them that we may build a city museum instead, and a green area that would be far better than the current park. We also wanted to turn the Ataturk Culture Centre to an opera building.”

The prime minister, who wants to rebuild the historic barracks there, called for an end to ongoing Gezi Park protests on his return from a four-day trip to North Africa in the early hours of June 7. “These protests must end immediately,” Erdogan said today in front of thousands of Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters who greeted him at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. “No power but Allah can stop Turkey’s rise,” he said.

Thousands flocked to the airport to greet Erdogan in a show of solidarity with the country’s most influential politician over the Gezi Park protests that have shaken Turkey.

“The police are doing their duty. These protests, which have turned into vandalism and utter lawlessness must end immediately,” Erdogan told the crowd.

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