Turkish prime minister convenes party leadership

Protesters hold placards that read " don't yield " in the city's Kugulu Park in Ankara, Turkey, late Friday, June 7, 2013. A senior European Union official, the EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule, on Friday criticized Turkish police's harsh crackdown on protesters in the previous week, asked that abusers be investigated and punished and told an audience that included Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that as a EU-candidate country, Turkey should aspire to the highest standards of democracy.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)   | Photo Credit: Burhan Ozbilici

Turkey’s Prime Minister convened his party leadership on Saturday as anti-government protests entered their ninth day, with thousands of people still occupying Istanbul’s central Taksim Square.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has said the protests must end immediately, will meet with top officials from his Justice and Development Party in Istanbul.

The protests began as a sit-in at a park in Taksim Square to prevent a redevelopment project that would replace the park with replica Ottoman barracks and a shopping mall. The mall idea seems to have fallen by the wayside, with Mr Erdogan recently saying an opera house, theatre and possibly a museum would be built instead.

But violent intervention by police to eject the protesters on May 31 outraged many, and the protests spread to dozens of cities across Turkey.

Over the past nine days of demonstrations and frequent violent confrontations with police, three people have been killed two protesters and a policeman and thousands have been injured.

The protests have attracted a broad array of people angered by what they say are Mr Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian ways and his intervention in private lives. They point to attempts to curtail the selling and promotion of alcohol, his comments on how women should dress and statements that each woman should have at least three children.

A devout Muslim who says he is committed to upholding Turkey’s secular tradition, Mr Erdogan vehemently rejects charges of autocracy and points out that he enjoyed 50 percent support in the last elections in 2011.

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2021 3:13:42 AM |

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