UPDATE 1-Turkish protesters party in square despite ruling party call

Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:05am EDT
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* Ruling party says protesters must leave

* Offers referendum on plans for Gezi Park

* Protesters party on Taksim Square late into night

* Unrest sparked by crackdown on peaceful demonstration

By Nick Tattersall and Jonathon Burch

ISTANBUL/ANKARA, June 13 (Reuters) - Hundreds of anti-government demonstrators chanted and sang in Istanbul's Taksim Square early on Thursday after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK party floated the offer of a referendum on development plans that stirred two weeks of protests.

The night passed peacefully, with young men playing soccer on the square at dawn, after several days of fierce clashes between police and protesters opposed to Erdogan. But it was not clear if the referendum offer would quell protests.

The pro-government Star newspaper declared in a front page headline: "The way out is a referendum".

"Referendum game", said Cumhuriyet newspaper, which is fiercely critical of Erdogan, whom it portrays as an increasingly authoritarian figure in Turkish politics.   Continued...