ISTANBUL (AP) — Talks between Turkey's prime minister and representatives of anti-government protesters have ended without a clear resolution on how to end the occupation of a central Istanbul park.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) on Thursday told the protesters he was giving them a "final warning" to leave the park. Although the late-night talks ended on what both sides indicated was a positive note, the possibility remains that protesters will refuse to leave and the police will be sent in to clear them out.
A violent police crackdown on May 31 against a small environmental protest aiming to prevent a development project at the park sparked protests that spread to dozens of cities across Turkey. Since then, hundreds and often thousands of people have set up camp in the park.
The demonstrations have evolved into a broader protest against what many say is the prime minister's increasingly authoritarian style and his perceived attempts to impose his religious and conservative views on a country with secular laws — charges Erdogan strongly rejects.
APPHOTO XTS118: A musician plays piano under the monument of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkey, as protesters gather to listen to his concert and police guard the area at the Taksim Square in Istanbul late Thursday, June 13, 2013. Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a "final warning" Thursday to protesters that they must end their occupation of a park next to Istanbul's Taksim Square, while rejecting condemnation by the European Parliament of an excessive use of for by riot police against demonstrators during an ongoing showdown. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) (13 Jun 2013)
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