Turkey: 18 killed in Kurdish protests

Kurdish protesters are angry at Ankara’s lack of action to protect Kobane from ISIS

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At least 18 people have been killed in pro-Kurdish protests in southeast Turkey, the Anadulo news agency reported on Wednesday.

The protesters were angry at Ankara’s lack of action to protect Kurdish population of the Syrian border town of Kobane from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Eight of the deaths came in Turkey’s main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir where the most intense rioting took place overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, a local security official told AFP.

The clashes with police caused extensive damage in the city with shop fronts burned-out and buses set on fire.

The other deaths were reported in violent protests in Mardin, Siirt, Batman and Mus, all cities in the southeast of Turkey.

In a measure unprecedented in the last years, the Turkish army has deployed in the streets of the cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van to impose a curfew.

Schools were closed in Diyarbakir and fights were cancelled, reports said. The protests had first broken out on Monday night but Tuesday’s clashes were more severe.

Police also used tear gas and water cannon to disperse angry pro-Kurdish protests in Istanbul and Ankara.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has so far not intervened militarily against ISIS militants fighting to seize majority-Kurdish border town of Kobane, to the fury of Turkey’s Kurds.

More than 160,000 have fled Kobane since the Islamist militants began their assault on the city three weeks ago.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the Kurdish protests supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “invite terror and chaos to Turkey,” the Anadulo news agency reported.

“Nobody has the right to disturb the peace and stability in Turkey using developments in a foreign territory as a pretext,” Kurtulmus added.

Turkey considers the PKK as a terrorist organization and refuses to support the PKK-offshoot fighting ISIS in the town of Kobane.

(With AFP)

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