Turkish Leader Agrees to Meet Protest Organizers

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ISTANBUL -- The prime minister of Turkey has agreed to meet with leaders of the protest movement whose opposition to the razing of an Istanbul park was a catalyst for antigovernment demonstrations that began more than a week ago, the government said Monday.

The meeting between the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the protest leaders is scheduled for Wednesday, according to a deputy prime minister and government spokesman, Bulent Arinc. It was the first sign that Mr. Erdogan, who has denounced the protest organizers and warned them to quit the protests, was willing to engage them in a dialogue.

"They asked to meet the prime minister, and he agreed to meet with the organizers," Mr. Arinc was quoted by Turkish news agencies as telling reporters in Ankara, the capital.

The protesters initially mobilized against the destruction of the park in Taksim Square, the center of Istanbul, to make way for a shopping complex. But they later widened their grievances into a broad rebuke of what they consider the authoritarian style of the prime minister and his Justice and Development Party, which is supported by religious conservatives in Turkey.

Three people have been reported killed and more than 2,300 injured as the protests spread to about 60 cities across the country and protesters clasehd with the police.


This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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