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Thursday, 29 July 2021

Kurds clash with police across Turkey in protests over Kobane

AFP , Tuesday 7 Oct 2014
Turkish Kurd protester run away from tear gas fired by riot police near the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province September 29, 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

Pro-Kurdish protesters clashed overnight Tuesday with police in several Turkish cities, including Istanbul, in a show of anger against the lack of action by the government against jihadists fighting for a key Syrian town.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has so far not intervened militarily against Islamic State (IS) jihadists fighting for the Kurdish border town of Kobane, 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 IS attacks and the AKP's stance on Kobane".

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has vowed that Turkey will do whatever necessary to prevent the fall of Kobane. But Kurds bitterly accuse Ankara of of merely looking on as the town risks being over-run by jihadists despite dozens of Turkish tanks being deployed on the border.

In Istanbul's Gazi neighbourhood, largely peopled by Kurds, protesters blocked a main highway, hurled Molotov cocktails and fireworks at police who fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse them.

Crowds later gathered at another working-class district, Esentepe, setting fire to an empty passenger bus, which exploded.

The fire was extinguished by the fire service but the vehicle's fuel then spilled out, causing an accident in which several people were injured, Dogan news agency reported.

In the Beyoglu district of central Istanbul, police clashed with masked protesters who sealed off the area with barricades.

In Istanbul's suburban district of Kucukcekmece, pro-Kurdish protesters set fire to a truck belonging to the city authorities and hurled petrol bombs which damaged nearby shops.

More than 500 people blocked a road leading to AKP's district headquarters in Avcilar and staged a sit-in protest in front of the building, shouting slogans: "AKP, take your hands off Kobane."

There were clashes in several other neighbourhoods of Istanbul, including the central Taksim, Kadikoy and Aksaray districts.

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

Fire broke out in one house and office due to petrol bombs, an AFP reporter said. Protesters whistled and banged pots and pans hanging from their balconies and waved Kurdish flags.

In Mardin province on the Syrian border, demonstrators destroyed a bust of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkish republic, reports said.

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.

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