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Three injured in scuffle as Turkish vote at Tokyo embassy

AFP , Sunday 25 Oct 2015
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At least three people, thought to be Kurdish, were injured in Tokyo on Sunday as hundreds of Turkish nationals gathered for overseas voting in general elections, according to reports.

Footage showed police forcibly interrupting a scuffle between Turks and Kurds in front of the Turkish embassy as voting for the November 1 election began early Sunday in Japan.

All three injured were believed to be Kurdish, Tokyo Broadcasting System said, adding that the cause of the fight was not immediately clear.

"I was attacked by Turks all of a sudden while I was in a car with my friends," a Kurdish man whose shirt had been torn off told the broadcaster in front of the embassy, which was heavily guarded by local police.

Some 3,600 Turkish nationals are currently resident in Japan, according to the country's foreign ministry.

The election comes at a time of escalating violence in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast despite a 2013 ceasefire, for now killing off hopes of ending a three-decade insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the poll after his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its governing majority for the first time in June 7 elections, forcing it into coalition talks that ended in failure.

The AKP won three decisive general election victories in 2002, 2007 and 2011 but was stripped of its overall majority this year after losing support to a pro-Kurdish party.

The result wrecked Erdogan's dreams of creating a powerful US-style presidency with full executive powers.

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