June 10, 2013

Erdogan To Meet With Turkish Protesters

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has announced that he will meet with protesters on Wednesday. At the time of the first reports of this meeting it was not clear who exactly he is scheduled to meet with.

The Taksim Solidarity Platform has meanwhile dropped its demand that those responsible for police violence, including the Istanbul governor, resign from office. This should not be read as a softening of demands, however, as the Platform continues to demand that Gezi Park not be harmed, continues to argue against planned tunnels in Taksim Square and is calling for an investigation of the Kalyon construction company.

Demands that police violence should be investigated, that the Ataturk Cultural Center should remain as it is, that tear gas should be banned by law and that all obstacles to freedom of expression should be removed appear to remain in place.

The ruling AK Party still appears divided, as we have said here in earlier posts. Prime Minister Erdo─čan and AK Party officials move between threats and cajoling. The AK Party and the government held six separate rallies yesterday against the protests and some of these deteriorated into violence.

The progressive Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has stepped up its criticisms of the government and the AKP. One BDP deputy has been quoted as saying, "First the prime minister, then all AKP officials and deputies, should give up their insulting, threatening, arrogant and imperious approaches immediately. The prime minister should make an effort to understand what people on the streets are saying instead of organizing counter rallies. If the prime minister went to Gezi Park and listened to the people’s requests on-site instead of staging separatist rallies in five different spots in Ankara, today, we might perhaps have come to a point where the tension in the streets had ended."

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