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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sultan runs out of patience, issues final warning

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is railing. His government has 'run out of patience.'
In a speech at a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party, Erdogan struck back at criticism from the European Parliament over the ferocity of a police crackdown and accused some international media of exaggerated reporting.
"Our patience is at an end. I am making my warning for the last time. I say to the mothers and fathers please take your children in hand and bring them out ... Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces but to the people," he said.
A heavy-handed police crackdown on Gezi Park nearly two weeks ago triggered an unprecedented wave of protest against Erdogan and his AK Party - an association of centrists and conservative religious elements - drawing in secularists, nationalists, professionals, unionists and students.
Erdogan, who has accused foreign forces, international media and market speculators of stoking the unrest and trying to undermine the Turkish economy, said he would "share with the nation" at another AKP meeting on Friday details of what he termed a "game being played with Turkey".
"It is as if the whole of Turkey is on fire, as if the whole of Turkey is collapsing," he said of some media coverage, describing it as "deceptive and unethical".
Is Erdogan starting to crack?
Erdogan met a group of academics, artists and students who support the Gezi Park protests on Wednesday and AK Party deputy chairman Huseyin Celik said they had discussed the possibility of a referendum on the plans to build on the park.
The offer is one of the only concessions the authorities have publicly floated after days of firm rhetoric from Erdogan refusing to back down. Celik gave few details of how a referendum would be carried out, saying it could either be held across Istanbul, or just in the district near Taksim.
The protesters in Gezi Park, camped out in a ramshackle settlement of tents, were sceptical.
"The people the prime minister spoke to he chose. He said they will be the ones representing us. But they don't represent us. They have nothing to do with what we think," said Aylin Kaplan, 24, a student who has been in the park from the start.
"From the beginning we have said we have specific requests, we have been clear and open. We do not need a referendum," she said, repeating the main demand that the government abandon plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks on the park.
But even the US and the EU - neither of which will do anything anyway - are expressing concern over what's going on in Istanbul. Erdogan needs to end this in a hurry. He needs to visit Gaza.

What could go wrong?

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