ANKARA – Turkish protest leaders held emergency talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday night after demonstrators rejected his “last warning” to evacuate an Istanbul park at the center of mass antigovernment demos.
With tensions mounting, Taksim Solidarity representatives traveled to Ankara for late-night talks with Erdogan, their first since the unrest began, posing the biggest challenge yet to the decade-long rule of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
After the talks, AKP spokesman Huseyin Celik insisted the government will do nothing to the park until a referendum it has promised on its future takes place. “We want to know what the population of Istanbul thinks. Its decision is very important for us,” he said. The authorities were also waiting for the courts to rule on a move by objectors to block the development plan, Celik added.
Thousands of protesters spent another night under the stars in the park, having earlier rebuffed Erdogan’s call to leave in return for a referendum on the site’s planned redevelopment.