* Hundreds still camped out in Gezi Park
* Ruling party mulls referendum on development plans
* Prime Minister meets protest representatives
* Hundreds of lawyers stage protest
By Jonathon Burch and Ayla Jean Yackley
ANKARA/ISTANBUL, June 12 Turkish Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party ordered protesters out of an
Istanbul park on Wednesday, while making a limited concession in
the form of an offer to hold a referendum on redevelopment plans
that caused nearly two weeks of riots.
Huseyin Celik, deputy chairman of the Justice and
Development (AK) Party, said hundreds of demonstrators still
camped in Gezi Park, which adjoins Taksim Square in the heart of
Istanbul, must leave immediately.
Police fired tear gas into thousands of people gathered on
Taksim late on Tuesday, sending them scattering into side
streets, before bulldozing barricades and reopening the square
to traffic for the first time since the troubles began.
But a ramshackle settlement of tents pitched in Gezi Park in
the corner of the square, in what began as a peaceful campaign
over plans to build there, were left largely untouched as
skirmishes raged around them.
"Those with bad intentions or who seek to provoke and remain
in the park will (now) be facing the police," Celik told a news
conference following a meeting between Erdogan and a group of
public figures linked to the Gezi protesters.
There was an uneasy calm on Taksim, with small groups of
demonstrators chanting while riot police looked on.
A heavy-handed police crackdown on Gezi Park nearly two
weeks ago triggered an unprecedented wave of protest against the
perceived authoritarianism of Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK
Party, drawing in a broad alliance of secularists, nationalists,
professionals, unionists and students.
Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon day after day in
several cities, clashes which left three people dead including a
policeman and some 5,000 thousand injured, according to the
Turkish Medical Association.
The offer to hold a referendum on the park redevelopment was
one of the only concessions the authorities have publicly
floated, after days of firm rhetoric from Erdogan refusing to
back down. Celik gave few details of how a referendum would be
carried out, saying it could either be held across Istanbul or
just in the district near Taksim.
Protesters also want the government to punish those
responsible for the violent police crackdown.
"We think it is indispensable that Gezi Park should remain
as a park, violence should stop and those who responsible for
violence should be investigated," said Ipek Akpinar, an
architect who was among the delegation that met with Erdogan.
Erdogan has accused foreign forces, international media and
market speculators of stoking conflict and trying to undermine
the economy of the only largely Muslim NATO state.
Two foreign correspondents from the Canadian Broadcasting
Corp. (CBC) were detained by police on Wednesday, prompting
Foreign Minister John Baird to announce on his Twitter account
that he had called the Turkish ambassador to voice concern. CBC
quoted the Turkish ambassador to Canada as saying they were
expected to be released shortly.
Turkey's broadcasting authority said it was fining four
television channels over their coverage of the protests on the
grounds of inciting violence, media reports said.
LAWYERS PROTEST ARRESTS
Hundreds of lawyers packed the entrance hall of Istanbul's
main Palace of Justice, chanting slogans to protest at the
detention of their colleagues a day earlier in a demonstration
supporting the Gezi Park protests.
"Prosecutor resign", "Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is
resistance," "shoulder-to-shoulder against fascists", the
lawyers shouted, dressed in their court gowns, some shaking
their fists, others clapping.
Several hundred lawyers held a protest march in Ankara and
there were smaller protests by lawyers in other cities.
President Abdullah Gul, who has struck a more conciliatory
tone than Erdogan, said it was the duty of government to engage
with critics but also appeared to close ranks with the prime
minister, saying violent protests were a different matter.
"If people have objections ... then to engage in a dialogue
with these people, to hear out what they say, is no doubt our
duty," Gul said. "Those who employ violence are something
different and we have to distinguish them ... This would not be
allowed in New York, this would not be allowed in Berlin."
Erdogan's tough talk has endeared him to voters for the past
decade, but his opponents say it has now poured fuel on the
flames. On Tuesday he said would not kneel before the protesters
and that "this Tayyip Erdogan won't change".
The United States, which has held up Erdogan's Turkey in the
past as an example of Muslim democracy that could benefit other
countries in the Middle East, expressed concern about events in
Turkey and urged dialogue between government and protesters.
The European Union also raised concern about the police
clearance of Taksim overnight. Top EU officials have called on
Erdogan's government to investigate cases of excessive force.
Erdogan argues that the broader mass of people have been
manipulated by extremists and terrorists and says his political
authority derives from his popular mandate in three successive