Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a warning for all protesters to immediately leave central Istanbul, saying that no matter what it takes the protests will be over in the next 24 hours.
After ugly crackdowns yesterday did nothing to end the rallies it isn’t clear how Erdogan intends to accomplish this, but he confirmed talking to the Interior Minister as well as Istanbul’s police chief and told them to crush the rallies within that period.
Beyond that Erdogan offered no details, except to say that he urged them not to harm the “younger” protesters at the rally. This is at least something of a step back for the prime minister, who has been condemning the protesters as “terrorists” all week.
Erdogan is facing growing criticism internationally for his violent reaction to the demonstrations, with EU officials urging an end to the crackdowns. The United States has so far been relatively muted in their response, urging protesters to avoid “provocations” while saying they support, in vague terms, the right to free speech.