Turkey PM: We'll Boot 'Troublemakers' in 24 Hours

Erdogan is still talking tough, but offered a referendum

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 13, 2013 7:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Protesters have once again returned to Istanbul's Taksim Square, but they may not be there long: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today pledged to have police clear "troublemakers" from the area within 24 hours, the AP reports. It's the latest in a series of conflicting moves by the government: Just yesterday, Erdogan promised a referendum on the redevelopment of the park at the center of the controversy, the New York Times reports.

"They first tell us to go home, and then they present the idea of the referendum?" asked a student. "If they were sincere about a vote, they would not ask us to leave the park." A government-backed referendum might not be such a good idea anyway, says an Istanbul expert on urban sociology, who asserts it's "not a healthy and democratic solution" to dealing with a local matter. And for many, the issue long ago expanded beyond the park. Says one protester, "We want more than the park now. We want change." As for Erdogan, he seems confident things will be settled soon: "By tomorrow at the latest, the Gezi Park incident will end."

A municipality worker cleans the steps of Taksim Square under a barricade in Istanbul on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
A municipality worker cleans the steps of Taksim Square under a barricade in Istanbul on Thursday, June 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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