Turkish PM meets a group of artists, academics and students over protests
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met today with a group of 11 people, including artists, academics and students. AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRIME MINISTER OFFICETurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met today with a group of 11 people, including artists, academics and students, regarding the Gezi Park protests as part of the government’s attempt to listen to the demands of the demonstrators.
The participants included Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan (actor), Betül Tanbay (spokesperson of Taksim Platform, but participating on her own behalf) Hale Çıracı (urban planner at Istanbul Technical University), Kutluğ Ataman (Director), Nil Eyüboğlu (Student), Rumeysa Kiger (architect), Selva Gürdoğan (architect), Zehra Öney (social media expert), Zülfikar Kürüm (publisher), İpek Akpınar (lecturer), Bülent Peker (protestor, supporter of AKP, who wrote a letter to Erdoğan).
Interior Minister Muammer Güler, Environment and Urban Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar, Tourism and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik and the vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Hüseyin Çelik were also present at the meeting, which was held at the AKP headquarters in Ankara.
Prior to this meeting, the prime minister convened the Central Executive Board (MYK) of his party to discuss the protests.
However, some activists had doubts about the talks’ legitimacy, and some of those invited had declined to meet with Erdoğan. Greenpeace had previously said they would not participate due to the “environment of violence.”
The Taksim Platform, which started the protests 16 days ago, announced that they were not notified of a meeting and the group “does not represent” the protestors across the country.
Erdoğan’s talks are set to come after clashes between police and protesters at Istanbul’s Taksim Square lasted into the early hours of this morning. Police also used tear gas to disperse protests in the capital, Ankara.
Erdoğan had warned that he would put an end to the gatherings, which he said were hurting Turkey’s image and economy.
The prime minister will also meet June 13 with Hülya Avşar, a popular singer and actress.
'Tension is decreasing’
In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ claimed that the tension had started to decrease following the government’s decision to meet representatives of the Gezi Park protestors but warned about provocative moves. “There are circles who want to provoke [the protests]. They continue to do so but the people’s common sense will be the most important obstacle for them [the provocateurs],” Bozdağ told reporters today.
Bozdağ informed that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would not cancel its plans to hold two massive rallies on June 15 And 16 in Ankara and in Istanbul and said these rallies would demonstrate how the AKP supporters would respond to what had been going on in the country in the last two weeks. “This community will reflect the common sense and national will. It will set a democratic reunion. We will be together with our people. Postponing them is out of question,” he stressed. He also dismissed the opposition’s claims that these rallies would further polarize the country amid ongoing tension over the Gezi Park protests.