Turkish PM Erdogan said a referendum can 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 - A referendum can 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 Akpinar.
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