Connect to share and comment

Turkey: Erdogan freezes Gezi Park project until court ruling

Protestors win a small victory after the Turkish government agrees to put plans to redevelop Gezi Park on hold pending a court ruling.

Gezi park project june 14Enlarge
Young people look at messages hung at a tree branches at the entrance of Gezi park, in Istanbul, on June 14, 2013. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 14 appealed to protesters to evacuate Istanbul's Gezi park 'by tonight', after promising to suspend the site's redevelopment in a bid to end two weeks of deadly anti-government unrest. (Marco Longari /AFP/Getty Images)

Protestors scored a small victory on Friday after the Turkish government agreed to put plans to redevelop Gezi Park on hold pending a court ruling on its legality.

Redevelopment plans that would put a shopping center in the park sparked the biggest anti-government protests Turkey has seen in decades.

A police crackdown on demonstrators camping in the park two weeks ago provoked a deadly wave of protests against the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party.

Five people have been killed and thousands more injured since the protests began on May 31 and spread into nearby Taksim Square.

More from GlobalPost: Police crackdown on Taksim Square gets mixed reviews

Erdogan held late-night talks in Ankara with members of Taksim Solidarity, the umbrella group of protesters, to try and come up with a solution to end the protests.

A compromise was reached that would see the government back off on plans to redevelop the park until a court decided whether or not it was legal.

If the court approves the project, it would be put to a popular vote, a government spokesperson told the BBC.

"The prime minister said that if the results of the public vote turned out in a way which would leave this area as a park, they will abide by it," Tayfun Kahraman, a member of the protest group, told reporters following the meeting.

"His comments that the project will not be executed until the judiciary makes its decision is tonight's positive result," he added. 

The announcement comes just a day after Erdogan gave a "final warning" to protesters to leave the park.

"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," Erdogan said late on Thursday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/130614/turkey-protests-erdogan-freezes-gezi-park-project-until-c