Turkish police shot Kurdish man attempting to remove flag

AFP , Saturday 28 Jun 2014

A Kurdish man was shot and wounded by police on Saturday when he attempted to remove a Turkish flag from a police station in Istanbul, local media reported.

The incident follows a wave of anger across the country against the taking down of a Turkish flag earlier in June from a military base in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

A policeman shot the 28-year-old man in the leg when he climbed a pole to pull down a Turkish flag at a a police station in Gaziosmanpasa, a working-class district on Istanbul's European side.

The man, identified as Ali Ocgun, shouted "Freedom for Kurds" and threatened to attack the police with a knife before he was shot and taken to a nearby hospital, Dogan news agency reported.

A masked protester took down a Turkish flag from an air base earlier this month following fierce clashes in the Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakir that left two dead.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted with fury to the removal of "our sacred flag", saying whoever takes it down "will pay a price".

The premier launched peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 2012, and the rebels declared a historic ceasefire in March last year, although the process stalled in September amid accusations the government had reneged on promises.

Erdogan's government on Thursday submitted a package of reforms to parliament to revive the peace talks -- an apparent bid to garner votes from Turkey's biggest minority group ahead of presidential polls in August.

The PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, launched an insurgency seeking self-rule in the southeast in 1984 that has claimed about 45,000 lives.

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