Turkey protesters dismiss Erdogan meeting over unrest

Now Reading:

Turkey protesters dismiss Erdogan meeting over unrest

Text size Aa Aa

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met a group of public figures in Ankara to discuss the two-week old uprising around the country.

The meeting has been dismissed by anti-government protesters including one key group, the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which said it had not been invited and that those who met the prime minister ‘did not represent’ them.

The group he saw included artists, academics, at least one student and a journalist.

A senior official from the ruling AK Party has floated the idea of a referendum in Istanbul on the future of Gezi Park, whose controversial redevelopment plans sparked the protests.

Before the meeting Erdogan had shown little sign of a more conciliatory approach – saying this week that there would be ‘no more tolerance’ and blaming the media and foreign interference for the unrest.

In Taksim Square anti-government demonstrators gathered again in the evening despite Tuesday’s operation by Turkish police to clear the area, which brought some of the worst clashes since the troubles began.

Hundreds of lawyers protested at the detention of up to 50 of their colleagues on Tuesday. They were held and were allegedly ‘roughed up’ by police after turning up to represent protesters who had been detained.

Protesters had listed some of their demands: they included calls for Gezi Park in Istanbul to remain untouched, for protesters arrested to be released, for police chiefs responsible for the crackdown to be dismissed, and for guarantees of freedom of expression.

The past two weeks have seen a wave of protest against police repression, government policies and what many see as the prime minister’s authoritarian style.