Turkey seeks negotiated end to anti-government protests

Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:43pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* Istanbul governor offers dialogue in Bosphorus cafe

* Protests have left three dead, 5,000 injured

* Unrest started after crackdown on peaceful protest in park

By Daren Butler and Humeyra Pamuk

ISTANBUL/ANKARA, June 14 (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the governor of Istanbul made what appeared to be final efforts to end two weeks of anti-government unrest by negotiation on Friday, meeting opponents of controversial plans to redevelop a city park.

Erdogan met a delegation mostly made up of actors and artists but also including two members of the umbrella protest group Taksim Solidarity, hours after saying his patience had run out and warning protesters occupying Gezi Park to leave.

Separately, Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu offered to meet demonstrators from Taksim Square, the epicentre of the protests, at a cafe by the Bosphorus waterway to discuss their demands that the government abandon plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks on the park, which adjoins Taksim.

"For those who want to talk face to face tonight, from midnight we will talk in groups, if necessary until morning," Mutlu said on his Twitter account.

A police crackdown on the 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.   Continued...