Blood, flames engulf southeastern Turkey as clashes continue
ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 4/21/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Tensions continued in eastern and southeastern Turkey as many waited anxiously for a new decision from the Supreme Election Board, or YSK.
Tensions continued in eastern and southeastern Turkey as many waited anxiously for a new decision from the Supreme Election Board, or YSK, which had vetoed 12 independent candidates on Monday, sparking nationwide protests.
Thousands of Kurds took to the streets in southeastern Turkey on Thursday for the funeral of a slain protestor and waged pitched battles with police in a third day of turmoil.
A policeman and a school employee were injured in a fight in central Batman when an unidentified person opened fire as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators hurling stones and petrol bombs, Anatolia news agency reported, adding that the policeman was hit by three bullets.
In nearby Bismil district, an estimated 30,000 people marched at the funeral of İbrahim Oruç, 18, a protester killed in clashes the previous day, and chanted slogans in favor of the Outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The mourners carried the coffin, wrapped in PKK flags, on their shoulders as masked youth shouting "Revenge, revenge!" escorted the procession. The crowd was led by prominent Kurdish politicians, including Gülten Kışanak, who was among the seven candidates declared ineligible to run in the June 12 parliamentary elections. Unrest broke out as militant youths, marching back to the city center, hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at the security forces who responded with pepper gas and pressurized water.
There were similar scenes of violence in other towns across the Southeast.
A fire broke out at a bank office in the eastern province of Van after demonstrators threw a Molotov cocktail at the building Thursday. A group gathered in Van to protest the killing of Oruç. Oruç was shot and killed by the police Wednesday during a demonstration in Bismil.
The group attacked a private bank branch, hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. Bank employees and customers were trapped inside and were affected by smoke from the fire. Police and firefighters rescued the people trapped in the bank. Three people were hospitalized, including one pregnant woman. Riot police dispersed the protesters using water cannons and tear gas.
[HH] BDP deputies furious
BDP deputy Hasip Kaplan told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that unjustified attempts to prevent his party from functioning has led to a public outcry in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. "At this point, the YSK's decision has caused public resentment in the region. The people reacted, and the security forces used excessive force in return, killing people. This is a massacre," he said.
BDP Deputy Sırrı Sakık described the recent events as “a complete scandal.”
“If you ban part of society from the democratic arena, then you send an invitation for violence. We have been saying this from day one. Unfortunately the events prove us right,” Sakık said.
[HH] Investigations into Wednesday’s events
The Interior Ministry announced Thursday a general investigation was opened regarding the events in Bismil the day before. The Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office also announced legal investigations were started into the killing of Oruç and the using of municipal work machines against police panzers in Bismil.
The police detained some protesters in Diyarbakır on Wednesday and held them for about an hour in front of the AKP provincial building before transferring them to the station. The matter attracted criticism when photos leaked to the Internet showed the police using the AKP building as a detainment center. AKP’s Diyarbakır organization spoke about the matter Wednesday evening, saying they were disturbed by the situation, too, and they did not allow police to bring the people inside.