ISTANBUL - ANKARA
Protesters allegedly attempted to set fire to the local Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) building in Istanbul's Bağcılar district after shots were fired from it.
At least 26 people were killed and many more were injured as the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants on the Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria prompted fresh protests across Turkey on Oct. 7. A curfew was declared in six Turkish provinces.
Most clashes were between the suspected members of Hizbullah, a radical Islamist grouping whose members are mostly Kurdish and known for allegedly aiding the state in the torture and murder of Kurdish activists in the 1990, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The former group reportedly supports ISIL, while the latter supports the YPG, the Kurdish militia in Kobane, and has condemned the Turkish government's inaction in protecting Syrian Kurds.
The highest death toll was in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where suspected members of Hizbullah allegedly strafed a crowd of protesters. An association building belonging to Hizbullah was subsequently attacked. 10 people were killed in the city on Oct. 8, at least five of whom were described as pro-Hizbullah.
Hakan Buksur, 25, was killed when a tear gas canister hit his head as police clashed with protesters in the eastern province of Muş's Varto district, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Yusuf Çelik and Muhdi Erdoğan were killed during protests in Siirt's Kurtalan district, Gov. Mustafa Tutulmaz confirmed. Another person was heavily wounded, he said.
In Mardin's Dargeçit district, members of the Free Cause Party (Hüda Par), which is closely linked to Hizbullah, allegedly opened fire on other protesters, killing two. Three more people were also reportedly killed in the city.
A curfew was declared at 5 p.m. local time in the southeastern province of Mardin, whose districts of Kızıltepe, Nusaybin, Derik, Dargeçit, Mazıdağı and Savur are close to Turkey’s border with Syria.
A curfew was declared in the Erciş district of Van, an eastern province where at least one protester was killed, and also the Kurtulan district of Siirt, according to Doğan News Agency.
Later at 10 p.m., the Diyarbakır
Governor's Office also declared a curfew across the southeastern province until a second notice, before the same move came from the governor of Batman province, where one protester was killed.
Schools will be closed in Diyarbakır
for one day on Oct. 8 and all flights are canceled.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala, who was accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
during a visit to Gaziantep, said violence was not a solution.
“Violence will be responded to,” Ala said. “This eclipse of reason should be ended immediately and streets should be emptied. Otherwise this issue will have unforeseen results.”
“Those who are resorting to violence are engaging in treason,” he added.
A masked group attacked a public bus parked in front of a gas station with Molotov cocktails in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. The group also attacked the station itself with a Molotov cocktail, Doğan News Agency reported.
A human rights lawyer identified as Tamer Doğan was also rushed to hospital after being injured during a police crackdown on protesters in the Asian-side Istanbul district of Kadıköy. Police had earlier refused to allow a protest after dozens of people had gathered early Oct. 7 following the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) call for a demonstration in support of Kobane.
Doğan tried to negotiate with the police before the intervention, a colleague of his told daily Radikal, adding that he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister as he was trying to step aside. Some colleagues also accused police of deliberately targeting the lawyer. His condition is not life threatening and is improving, Radikal reported. Kadıköy has been one of the hotspots of protests in support of Kobane since last week.
Police also refused to permit a protest in the sensitive European district of Sultangazi, where 500 people had gathered early Oct. 7. A group of demonstrators had attempted to march to the local headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to protest against the government’s stance on Kobane, according to reports. Elsewhere in Sultangazi, an ultranationalist group shouting Allahu Akbar also surrounded the district headquarters of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a successor to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), trapping around 50 people inside. Party members were only able to leave with a police escort after three hours.
There was also tension in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district as plumes of smoke rose over the horizon amid reported battles between protesters and police. Protesters allegedly attempted to set fire to the local Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) building after shots were fired from it.
While the MHP called for calm in the evening, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the DBP's sister party, condemned the attempts of plundering and vandalism.
Police resorted to tear gas and water cannon during a protest in Ankara
where several hundred people had gathered.
Several protests have been staged in many other Turkish cities, including Ankara, Antakya, Antalya, Eskişehir, Denizli, Kocaeli, Diyarbakır, Siirt and Batman.
Meanwhile, one of the two protesters injured during an attack against a group protesting ISIL late Oct. 6 in the southern province of Adana is in serious condition, Doğan News Agency has reported. Attackers who opened fire on protesters with live ammunition are still unidentified, reports said.