ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister is issuing what he calls a "final warning" to protesters.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) is demanding that they end their occupation of a park next to a landmark square in Istanbul. Speaking to party leaders in Ankara, the country's capital, he said, "We have arrived at the end of our patience."
The comments show that Erdogan appears determined to end two weeks of widespread protests. They began as an attempt to block development in the Istanbul park, but expanded after a violent police crackdown on the activists -- and became the biggest street unrest of Erdogan's 10-year rule. Police have repeatedly fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. Five people have died, and thousands have been reported injured.
The prime minister is urging parents with children at the park to persuade them to pack up and go home.
Yesterday, in an effort to calm the protests, Erdogan's party suggested holding a referendum on the development plan that sparked the demonstrations.
182-r-18-(Sound of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn), speaking in Turkish, at speech to local party leaders)--Sound of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issuing, he says in Turkish, a warning for the last time: "I say 'Mothers, fathers, Please take control of your children. Let those children withdraw from there (Taksim Square).'" (13 Jun 2013)
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183-a-14-(Ece Demirel (AY'-jih DEH'-mur-ehl), protest leader, Urban Movements Forum, in AP interview)-"can start negotiating"-Protest leader Ece Demirel brushed aside suggestions a referendum on the future of an urban park in Istanbul could overcome weeks of unrest. (13 Jun 2013)
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184-r-09-(Sound of machinery work on a marble statue, at Taksim Square)--Sound of city workers attempting to remove painted protest slogans from a statue in Istanbul's Taksim Square. (13 Jun 2013)
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APPHOTO XTS117: Cars and pedestrian use the Taksim Square as a few protesters gather at a barricade in Istanbul on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a "final warning" Thursday to protesters that they must end their occupation of a park next to Istanbul's Taksim Square, while rejecting condemnation by the European Parliament of alleged recent excessive use of force by riot police against demonstrators. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) (13 Jun 2013)
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APPHOTO ANK121: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the mayors from his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, June 13, 2013.(AP Photo) (13 Jun 2013)
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