Turkey to halt park demolition until court ruling
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to halt plans to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park on Friday, conceding to a mass uprising sparked by the redevelopment. He will await a court ruling on the park's future, a spokesperson said.
The government will comply with a court decision that suspended the demolition of Gezi Park, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik said in the early hours of June 14. Çelik was speaking after a late night meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a delegation of 16 representatives of the protesters in Ankara that lasted nearly four hours.
Erdoğan held a surprise meeting for a second consecutive day with a new delegation that comprised members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which was at the center of the protests since the first day, as well as eight artists who had been outspoken in their support for the demos.
Referring to a court ruling on the suspension of the planned Artillery Barracks project, which was set to be built in the place of Gezi, Çelik said that in the case that the appeal fails, the site will be kept as a park. In the event that the project receives a green light after the appeal the government will organize a referendum regarding Gezi Park’s fate.