Turkey's Protests Just Might End Peacefully
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A day after issuing ominous threats to protesters in Istanbul, the Turkish government appears to have worked out out a compromise that could send everyone home without more of a fight. The government has agreed to suspend a controversial development plan that would have razed the city's Gezi Park in order to build a new mall, and potentially put the issue to a vote. In exchange, however, the ruling party still wants demonstrators to abandon the park, which they have occupied for most of the last two weeks. As a deputy chairman of the AKP party said in a statement to the media, "After this point, the most right thing will be for you to go sleep in your warm beds at home."
It's not really known if that promise will do any good, however, since the protesters are far from united and don't really answer to any single group. The original demonstrations were organized by environmental groups hoping to save the park, but they morphed into a general outburst to air any and all grievances against Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. Representatives of the protest groups met with Erdogan early on Friday, but some groups refused to attend and others have already stated they don't intend to accept the compromise agreement.
A Turkish court has temporarily blocked the development project, but the government is appealing the ruling. They have stated that if they win the ruling they will still allow a referendum in Istanbul, but if the protesters don't cooperate, then could be a long and difficult weekend in Turkey.
Top image: Pedestrians and a Turkish flag are reflected in a puddle following a noon rainfall in Istanbul's Taksim square. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.