Middle East

One killed in pro-Kurdish protest in southeast Turkey: reports

Kurdish protestors clash with Turkish riot policemen in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on October 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Ilyas Akengin

ISTANBUL: Pro-Kurdish demonstrators angered by Turkey's lack of action in the fight against jihadists on the Syrian border clashed with police across the country Tuesday, leading to at least one death and a score of injuries.

One young pro-Kurdish protester was killed in the southeastern city of Mus while police used tear gas and water canon to disperse angry protests in Istanbul.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has so far not intervened militarily against ISIS jihadists fighting for the Kurdish border town of Kobani, to the fury of Turkey's Kurds.

Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP), late Monday called for street protests "against ISIS attacks and the AKP's stance on Kobani".

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has vowed that Turkey will do whatever necessary to prevent the fall of Kobani.

But Kurds bitterly accuse Ankara of merely looking on as the town risks being overrun by jihadists despite dozens of Turkish tanks being deployed on the border.

There were conflicting reports about how the 25-year-old protester was killed in the clashes in the city of Mus, with the Hurriyet newspaper saying he died of a gunshot wound after being caught in crossfire.

But NTV television said he was killed after being struck in the head by a tear gas cannister fired by police to disperse the protesters.

Almost all shops were closed in Mus, where where dozens of youths set fire to bins and lit smoke bombs and firecrackers. Another person was seriously injured.

In Istanbul's Gazi neighbourhood, largely populated by Kurds, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a protest by several hundred Kurds Tuesday afternoon, an AFP correspondent reported.

Elsewhere in Istanbul, one person was seriously injured in the Sarigazi district after being shot in the head from close range.

In another protest Tuesday afternoon in the Kadikoy neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, human rights lawyer Tamer Dogan was badly wounded after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by a policeman, the Radikal news website said.

In Diyarbakir, Turkey's largest Kurdish city in the southeast, enraged youths overnight torched a police vehicle, scores of vehicles and shops and attacked government offices.

Clashes also took place in the Turkish capital Ankara, with several police injured in the protests.

Violent protests were also reported in cities including Mersin and Adana in south Turkey. A curfew was declared in numerous districts of the southeastern city of Mardin from Tuesday evening until 8 a.m. the Wednesday.

Kurds have been particularly irked by the reluctance of the Turkish authorities, who are themselves worried by Kurdish separatism, to allow Kurdish fighters over the border into Syria.

They repeatedly warned that the fall of Kobani could mean an end to the peace talks between Ankara and the PKK, which waged a deadly insurgency in Turkey for the last three decades but has largely observed a cease-fire since 2013.

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said in a message relayed by his brother from his prison on the island of Imrali on the Sea of Marmara that the government had until mid-October to show it was serious about the peace process.

"They (the government) are talking about resolution and negotiation but there exists no such a thing.

"This is an artificial situation we will not be able to continue anymore," said the statement carried by the Firat news agency.

"The state must take action ... Can a peace process make any progress in this way?"

Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) - considered the urban wing of the mountain-based PKK - called on "millions" to take to the street to protest against "ISIS brutality."

In the southeastern city of Batman, PKK supporters set fire to a dormitory and a prep school after clashing with police.

In Hakkari on the border with Iraq and Iran, the youth wing of the PKK attacked a girls' dormitory, ransacking its rooms and some of the offices, reports said.

 

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