Government holds BDP responsible for clashes
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality made a statement yesterday saying that thirty-nine city buses, five ticket booths and 42 bus stops were hit by stones and severely damaged following Sunday’s clashes. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELFollowing the clashes between police and Kurdish protesters during banned Nevruz celebrations in Istanbul March 18, in which one person died, officials from the Turkish government have said they hold the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) responsible.
“It seems the BDP and its followers’ concern is neither to hold meetings and demonstrations in a democratic environment, nor to celebrate Nevruz. Their concern is to make a scene, to kick up a storm, and to engage in activities that harm [other] citizens’ lives and property, to gain currency in this manner and to present to the world such an image of Turkey,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.
Bozdağ added that the BDP supporters did not have good intentions for the protests and did not hold democratic rallies.
Meanwhile groups of people from the BDP gathered in Istanbul’s Arnavutköy district for the funeral of Hacı Zengin, who lost his life during the clashes on March 18. Zengin, 57, was reported to be a member of the BDP’s Arnavutköy branch, and is alleged to have lost his life after being subjected to pepper gas during the protests.
“The police and some civilian nationalists attacked the protesters together,” BDP Istanbul deputy Levent Tüzel told Hürriyet Daily News.
Another BDP co-chair, Gülten Kışanak, said Zengin’s body bore signs of having been beaten.
However, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu indicated there had been no more detentions since March 18, and that some 135 people in all had been taken into custody since the Nevruz demonstrations began. Gov. Mutlu also sent his condolences to the family of Zengin. Zengin was a member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) but held no high-ranking position within it, Mutlu said, while visiting the private Esayan Armenian High School in the Fatih district yesterday.
“[Zengin] was afflicted with asthma and received treatment accordingly. He was at his home in Arnavutköy at 1:30 p.m. He fell ill at 3:30 p.m. The assessment made at the hospital indicated there was no trace on his body of injury resulting from a signal flare or other things,” Mutlu said.
Meanwhile, nine of the 135 suspects detained during the Nevruz celebrations had been transferred to the courthouse, according to reports.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has also launched an investigation into the Nevruz demonstrations held in that city March 18.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality made a statement March 19 saying there had been extensive damage to mass transit vehicles and bus stops following Sunday’s clashes.
Thirty-nine city buses were hit by stones and severely damaged, according to the statement. A bus belonging to the municipality’s traffic department that was used for children’s traffic education had also been torched.
Five ticket booths were destroyed along the Metrobüs route, while 42 glass panels on overpass railings were smashed. A total of 42 bus stops between Istanbul’s Yenikapı and Zeytinburnu districts were allegedly demolished by protesters. Six trams were damaged, and numerous tram windows were shattered by stones hurled by protesters, the statement said, while a number of ticket booths and token-dispensing machines were damaged beyond use.