Turkish court rules against Taksim Square building project that triggered nationwide anti-government demonstrations


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The Independent Online

A court has ruled against a building project in Istanbul that triggered nationwide anti-government demonstrations.

Authorities were expected to appeal against the decision to cancel a project to redevelop Taksim Square in the city centre, which became the centre of protests and violent clashes with police last month. But the ruling marked a significant victory for a coalition of political forces opposed to the project.

The administrative court made its ruling in early June, at the height of the unrest, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs. It was not clear why it was not released until now.

The Taksim Square project, which would have involved cutting down trees and erasing nearby Gezi Park, became symbolic of what opponents of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, regarded as an increasingly high-handed form of government. Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds  there and at demonstrations in other cities.

Mr Erdogan said on 14 June that his government would wait for the judiciary to rule, including the appeals process, before proceeding with the Taksim development, which was seen as one of his pet projects.