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Jun 12, 2013 8:07 AM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Turkish PM to meet Istanbul park protesters

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's prime minister is scheduled to meet today with a group of activists protesting over re-development of an Istanbul park that has sparked the country's biggest anti-government protests in decades.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's talks will come after clashes between police and protesters at Istanbul's Taksim Square lasted into the early hours of Wednesday. Police also used tear gas to disperse protests in the capital, Ankara.

Erdogan has warned that he will put an end to the gatherings, which he says are hurting Turkey's image and economy.

The protests erupted on May 31 after a violent police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in by activists objecting to a project replacing the park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks. They have become Erdogan's biggest challenge since he came to power a decade ago.

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