Turkish security forces save eight workers from lynching after flag dispute
BOLU – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoTurkish security forces rescued eight workers from Turkey’s east after they were attacked by a group of ultranationalist locals in the northern Bolu province’s Mudurnu district, allegedly on the grounds that they disrespected the Turkish flag.
A group of citizens, who were touring Mudurnu’s Taşkesti town with a Turkish flag hanging from the car in protest at the killings of Turkish security forces in attacks staged by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), allegedly started arguing with a group of workers who were from the country’s east.
While the group inside the car with a Turkish flag allegedly demanded everyone respect the flag, the eight workers responded by saying, “Everyone should respect his own flag,” resulting in an argument.
The workers took shelter on the construction site of the school they are building and started throwing material, which they collected from nearby, at the people around the jobsite.
Hundreds of locals began to crowd around the construction site when word of the altercation spread around town, leading the gendarmerie to remove people who had descended upon the site.
Ahmet Temel, the father of a killed soldier, addressed the angry crowd, asking them to disperse, while a gendarmerie captain also asked the group to remain calm, adding that the necessary response to the PKK was being given by the security forces.
When the crowd refused to calm down, Bolu Gov. Aydın Baruş addressed the same crowd from scaffolding at the construction site and asked them to leave the premises.
“We as the state will do what is necessary and will punish them. How will we be a state when everyone tries to punish people by themselves?” Baruş told the crowd.
The words, however, failed to mollify the crowd, which occupied all the exits from the construction site and even climbed up part of the scaffolding in an attempt to capture the eight workers.
The workers hid from the crowd on the top floor of the school building, while the crowd started a fire near the building.
A construction vehicle belonging to the municipality prevented the fire from getting bigger and reaching the construction, as police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The eight workers were taken to an armored vehicle at 3:20 a.m. on Sept. 14, around eight hours after the incident had started, with the help of police and gendarmerie forces, who built a barricade to prevent the crowd from attacking the workers.
After the workers were removed from the construction site, the crowd dispersed.