Erdogan wants istanbul residents to vote on gezi park

Erdogan wants istanbul residents to vote on gezi park

The spokesman for the islamic-conservative ruling party AKP, huseyin celik, told television cameras on wednesday evening that he had proposed that the people of istanbul vote on the controversial construction project in gezi park. The idea of a referendum was the "concrete result" of a meeting between erdogan and artists, scientists and journalists in ankara.

The people of istanbul or the district of beyoglu could then decide whether the park should remain or whether the planned replica of an ottoman barracks should be built, the party spokesman said. The eviction of a camp in gezi park had triggered the wave of protests that quickly turned against erdogan’s authoritarian style of governing.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to drive tens of thousands of demonstrators away from taksim square during the night. Ten days after the protests began, the situation escalated dramatically with the police action, which drew international criticism and concern. Despite strong warnings from the government, thousands gathered in the square again on wednesday. Demonstrators also held out in the protest camp in gezi park.

The united nations and the u.S. Government urged the protection of fundamental rights and a dialogue. German chancellor angela merkel (CDU), according to government spokesman steffen seibert, called for "constructive discussion through prudence on all sides". German president joachim gauck expressed concern about the "excessive violence" in a phone call with turkish president abdullah gul. The bundestag unanimously condemned the violence.

The governor of istanbul, huseyin avni mutlu, had accused the demonstrators of attacking the police. Police operation in taksim square to continue as long as necessary. He urged istanbul’s citizens to stay away until security is established on the square.

The turkish broadcasting authority rtuk took action against critical broadcasters. The channel halk TV, which unlike the news channels of the turkish media groups continuously reports on the demonstrations, was sentenced to a fine, as were three other stations, the media reported. Broadcasting authority accuses TV stations of violating broadcasting principles and endangering the physical, mental and moral development of young people with their programs.

Minister guido westerwelle (FDP) calls for restraint. "The turkish government is sending the wrong signal with its reaction to the protests so far, both to its own country and to europe," he said in berlin. "We expect minister-president erdogan to de-escalate in the spirit of european values and to initiate a constructive exchange and peaceful dialogue"."

EU high representative catherine ashton warned the european union not to distance itself from turkey in light of the unrest in istanbul. "This is not the moment to disengage, but to engage even more strongly," she said at the european parliament in strabburg.

UN secretary-general ban ki moon called on all parties to calm down and engage in peaceful dialogue. "Protests should be peaceful, and the right to assembly and freedom of expression should be respected, because these are fundamental principles of a democratic state," his spokesman said in new york.

Turkish economy minister zafer caglayan described the protests against the government as an attempt from abroad to undermine turkey’s economic progress. Some are dissatisfied with the developments the country has made over the past decade, the state-run anadolu news agency quoted the minister as saying. "This is the attempt to establish foreign domination over turkey, but we are not fools. We took the wind out of their sails."

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