Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday his patience had run out after almost two weeks of anti-government protests and gave a final warning to those occupying a central Istanbul park to leave.
In a speech at a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party, Erdogan struck back at criticism from the European Parliament over the ferocity of a police crackdown and accused some international media of exaggerated reporting.
"Our patience is at an end. I am making my warning for the last time. I say to the mothers and fathers please take your children in hand and bring them out ... Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces but to the people," he said.
A heavy-handed police crackdown on Gezi Park nearly two weeks ago triggered an unprecedented wave of protest against Erdogan and his AK Party - an association of centrists and conservative religious elements - drawing in secularists, nationalists, professionals, unionists and students.
Erdogan, who has accused foreign forces, international media and market speculators of stoking the unrest and trying to undermine the Turkish economy, said he would "share with the nation" at another AKP meeting on Friday details of what he termed a "game being played with Turkey".
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"It is as if the whole of Turkey is on fire, as if the whole of Turkey is collapsing," he said of some media coverage, describing it as "deceptive and unethical".
Riot police looked on from the fringes of Taksim Square, the epicenter of the protests, overnight as crowds mingled, some chanting and dancing, others applauding a concert pianist who took up residence with a grand piano on the square.
It was a contrast to the scene 24 hours earlier, when tear gas sent thousands scurrying into side streets before authorities bulldozed barricades and reopened the square to traffic for the first time since the troubles began.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon day after day in cities including Ankara last week while youths threw stones and petrol bombs. Three people, one a policeman, died and about 5,000 thousand people were injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.