Turkey protesters present 'list of demands' to end demonstrations


ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JUNE 05:ÊA Turkish man sels masks on June 5, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The protests began initially over the fate of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the last significant green spaces in the center of the city. The heavy-handed viewed response of the police, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government's increasingly authoritarian agenda has broadened the rage of the clashes. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)ÊÊ Ê


Uriel Sinai

Turkey's protesters presented a list of demands they want met in exchange for an end to sweeping demonstrations Wednesday.  

The now six-day-long protests, which began with peaceful opposition to developing a park near Taksim Square, have spiraled into a critique of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian governing style. 

Though Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologized for the excessive use of police force that sparked the initial backlash, the protesters were joined by the country's trade unions on Tuesday night as hundreds of thousands continued to take to the streets in Istanbul and other cities throughout Turkey.  

The protesters have drafted demands that include the halting of the Taksim Square redevelopment plan, banning tear gas use by police, releasing detained protesters, and lifting restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in the country.

"The steps the government takes will shape the events," the Taksim Solidarity Platform, the group formed to present the requested changes, said in a statement.  

They have also demanded that the police chiefs in cities where police brutality was reported, including Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, be removed from their posts. 

In Izmir, police have arrested 25 people for spreading false information about the protests, and have orders to detain at least 13 others. 

Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden has urged Turkey to respect the dissidence as an integral part of its democracy, even as the US State Department issued a travel warning for American citizens to remain alert and avoid the protests. 

"Today's Turkey has a chance to demonstrate that there's no need to choose between economic advancement and democracy, the system that empowers the winners of elections and yet protects those who are in opposition," Biden said. 

More from GlobalPost: Turkish police read protesters riot act with tear gas, beatings