ISTANBUL – Turkey’s prime minister issued a “final warning” to protesters on Thursday, demanding they end their occupation of a park next to Istanbul’s Taksim Square that has ignited the largest political crisis of his 10-year rule.

Despite the ultimatum by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, thousands of activists camping out in Gezi Park dug in for a potential culmination of their two-week standoff with authorities.

Thousands of protesters also converged on Taksim Square, where the atmosphere was festive. A musician played on a grand piano set up in the center of the square as protesters danced, while a heavy police presence stood by.

In a sign that efforts were being made to resolve the situation through negotiations rather than a police raid, Erdogan was meeting late Thursday with some representatives of the protesters occupying the park.

Eight artists and two members of Taksim Solidarity, a group that has coordinating much of the Gezi sit-in, were involved in the meeting in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu agency said. It was the first time Erdogan has met directly with representatives of the protesters.

Taksim Solidarity member Canan Calagan, who was one of those participating, told The Associated Press before the talks that the meeting “will be meaningful” because it included true representatives of the protesters.

“The language developed so far has, unfortunately, not been suitable. We hope after this meeting that empathy will prevail … .” she said.

However, even if a deal were to be reached, it was no guarantee the sit-in would end.