Turkey Freezes Gezi Park Plans amid Unrest

World | June 14, 2013, Friday // 16:47|  views

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Turkish government says it has agreed to suspend redevelopment plans for an Istanbul park until a court ruling, after talks with protesters.

A government spokesman said there would be no attempt to start the project until a court decided whether or not it was legal, the BBC informs.

If the court backed the government, the project would be put to a popular vote.

A crackdown by police two weeks ago on what was a small demonstration against plans to build a shopping centre on the site of the park has sparked large-scale protests across Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held overnight talks with members of a key protest group.

The talks took place in the capital Ankara, just hours after Erdogan issued a "final warning" to demonstrators and a 24-hour deadline to crush the protests.

Five people, including a police officer, are reported to have died since the protests began, with thousands more hurt and hundreds arrested. There are fears that the dead toll might be much higher than the official reports.

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