But thousands more Erdogan supporters were gathered at the airport to greet him.
The BBC says Erdogan is expected to give a speech when he arrives in the early morning hours on Friday.
The Associated Press reports that his supporters "thronged the airport for his arrival, chanting 'We are with you, Erdogan,' in the first major public show of backing for the prime minister since the protests began last week."
In an effort to assuage tensions, Erdogan's deputy, Bulent Arinc, apologized on Tuesday for "the use of excessive force" against protesters, which has inflamed their anger. Bulent called the protesters' treatment at the hands of police "unfair."
However, in a sign that investors are leery of Erdogan's ability to calm the situations, Turkey's main stock market lost 8 percent on Thursday.
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