10 people, including two police officers, killed in two Turkish provinces

10 people, including two police officers, killed in two Turkish provinces

10 people, including two police officers, killed in two Turkish provinces

A far-right group marches with firearms and machetes in Gaziantep late Oct 9. The multicultural city is home to both Turks and Kurds.

Two policemen were killed late Oct. 9 after unidentified assailants opened fire on a team of officers conducting an investigation at the site of a workplace in the eastern province of Bingöl that was destroyed in recent protests over Kobane.

Bingöl police chief Atalay Ürker and his team came under fire from an automatic weapon while inspecting damage to the workplace. The chief’s deputy, Atıf Şahin, and Hüseyin Hatipoğlu, a police officer protecting them, were killed in the attack, while Ürker was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Four of the alleged assailants were later killed in a shootout with gendarmerie forces north of Bingöl while another was injured.

The attack is the first assassination attempt against a provincial police chief since the murder of Gaffar Okan in Diyarbakır in 2001.

Close to 30 people have now been killed since Oct. 7 as provinces in Turkey’s southeast exploded in rage at the government’s perceived support for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in their battle to conquer the town of Kobane in northern Syria, which is controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an organization closely linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Four people were also killed late Oct. 9 in the southeastern province of Gaziantep during a gun battle between opposing groups over the fate of Kobane. At least 20 people were injured in the clash. Pictures from the incident showed large groups of protesters carrying knives and sticks while making the sign of the grey wolf, a far-right symbol associated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Assailants also set fire to the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) building in the province's Şahinbey district.

Video footage from the Gaziantep clashes:

Police forces were also attacked in the southern city of Mersin,resulting in two police officers and two civilians being injured.

Meanwhile, two shops selling hunting rifles in Diyarbakır, another southeastern province, were robbed on Oct. 9. Some 100 rifles, as well as guns and bullets, were stolen.

Earlier on Oct. 7, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş called for restraint in the solidarity rallies for Kobane, saying his party had never called for violence in the protests.

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan likewise called for an acceleration of the peace process to solve the Kurdish issue, which could collapse if Kobane falls to ISIL, as many Kurds have said the government would be complicit in the event of a jihadist victory in the town.