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A referendum may be held in Istanbul on Taksim Gezi Park

12 June 2013 23:01 (Last updated 13 June 2013 10:20)
Turkish PM Erdogan said a referendum may be held in Istanbul over the project to replace Taksim Gezi Park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks, said Deputy Chairman of AK Party
ANKARA (AA) - A referendum may be held in Istanbul over the project to replace Taksim Gezi Park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks, said Deputy Chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Huseyin Celik following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with a group of 11 people representing the protestors.

"We will respect the results of the referendum and do what the people decide in Istanbul," said Celik.

Celik said the representatives, including academics, students and architects, expresssed environmental concerns and voiced their demands to Erdogan. 

The representatives called on Erdogan to embrace the youth and understand them, said Celik adding "We are doing politics with our people."

Celik said an investigation was launched into the use of excessive force and  they would  bring those responsible to account. 

Celik called on the protestors to leave the park saying "Lets's disperse so the life will turn to normal".

Celik also said shop owners and hotels were badly affected by the protests and  the image of the country was damaged. 

The government will not let banners be hung on Ataturk Culture Center (AKM) in Taksim Square any more said Celik, adding "AKM is a very gloomy building and does not befit its name. It is not earthquake resistant either. It could be replaced with a more beautiful building."

"These protests show that there is no dictatorship in Turkey," said Celik. "If the environmental demonstrators end the protests while provacateurs continue to occupy the park they will face police intervention."

"Taksim Gezi Park should stay as it is": Taksim protestors' representative

Ipek Akpinar, an academic from Istanbul Technical University, said Taksim Gezi Park should stay as it is and violence should be ended following a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Akpinar told a press conference that they were aware of the demands of the protestors adding those responsible for violence should be investigated.

"We hope the participation in the process will continue in an environment where there is no violence and Gezi Park will set an example to this," said Akpınar.

'Gezi Park needs rapid evacuation upon Erdogan's good will'

Huseyin Celik has urged that the protesters and those living in tents in Taksim Gezi Park must immediately leave the park and square as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his good intention at Wednesday's meeting. 

Speaking at a press conference following Premier Erdogan's meeting with a group of 11 people representing the protesters,  AK Party Deputy Chairman Celik said continuing protests could never be accepted by the government as it harmed and wore out Turkey internally and externally.

"These protests show that there is no dictatorship in Turkey. There is naturally intervention by the police, and unfortunately some people got hurt physically or psychologically, which also hurts us. However, I call on everyone to watch the police clashing with the demonstrators in G8 London protests," said Celik.

Celik stressed that the said referendum was not for Taksim Square, "The referendum raised at yesterday's meeting can only be held for Gezi Park and replica Ottoman era barracks."

Celik also called on the protesters to act with common sense, saying "Taksim Gezi Park and the square need to be immediately cleaned off from protesters and banners as Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his good intention at the meeting. I believe the youth also agrees with it and leave the area. Please, let the life at Taksim turn normal."

 

 

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