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Protesters say Turkish PM Pledges to Hold Off on Park Project

Anti-government protesters who met overnight with Turkey's prime minister say he has pledged to hold off on plans to redevelop an Istanbul park until a court rules on the project.

Plans to tear up the public park for development sparked protests two weeks ago that quickly built up into marches against the government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The latest opposition delegation that met with the prime minister included artists, actors and singers. The group said Mr. Erdogan promised to hold a referendum on the park project if the court rules in the government's favor.

Protesters gathered in Istanbul's Gezi Park have vowed to stay despite Mr. Erdogan giving a "final warning" to the marchers late Thursday. The prime minister gave those he calls "troublemakers" 24 hours to clear out of Istanbul's Taksim Square. Many people remained in the square Friday morning.



The prime minister met with another group on Wednesday. Most demonstrators brushed off the talks, saying the government handpicked the delegation.

The opposition accuses him of imposing his conservative Islamic views on secular Turks.

Riot police have used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades to drive off the marchers in Istanbul and Ankara. Four people have died, with about 5,000 people hurt and thousands of others arrested.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said the United States welcomes efforts to resolve Turkey's problems through dialogue. She also said U.S. officials are troubled by what they call pressure on media outlets covering the protests.

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