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Court annuls controversial Istanbul project

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July 4, 2013 06:41 AM EST | AP


ANKARA, Turkey — A lawyer says an Istanbul court has annulled a government-backed redevelopment project that ignited widespread protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule last month.

However, lawyer Can Atalay said Thursday that the court's June decision is not final and is expected to be appealed at a higher administrative court. Atalay filed the lawsuit against the plans on behalf of a chamber of architects.

The demonstrations were sparked May 31 by a brutal police crackdown on an environmental sit-in against plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks at a park next to Istanbul's landmark Taksim Square and morphed into an unprecedented challenge against Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government.

In a concession to protesters, Erdogan promise to suspend redevelopment plans pending court rulings and a referendum.