Monday, March 24, 2008


It isn't Tibet and China and no one is paying attention, but maybe the media should be looking at the response of Turkish police to unrest in Kurdish regions of the country.

Tens of thousands gathered in Istanbul's Kazlıçeşme square yesterday after the call by the Democratic Society Party (DTP) along with other organizations to mark the coming of the spring festival, Nevruz. Turkish Daily News says the celebrations in Istanbul started under strict security measures. Along with police forces, military forces were on guard beside Kazlıçeşme square as well. People were allowed onto the square after a police search. Although police did not allow the presence of posters of Abdullah Ocalan (one of the founders and chairperson of Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK)), and some banners in Kurdish, Öcalan posters found their way to the square. People were also carrying banners saying, “We are hungry, not for spaghetti, but for peace and fraternity.”

France 24 is reporting clashes broke out in Wan, located in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan (see map), when thousands of protesters tried to march through the streets to denounce the death of a 35-year-old man from a bullet wound he sustained during a protest at the weekend. Police used batons on Monday to beat back the demonstrators --members of Turkey's main Kurdish party, the Democratic Society Party -- in Wan on the ground that their march was illegal.

Two Kurdish demonstrators died in southeastern Turkey as clashes between the police and Kurdish continued today.

On Sunday in the morning Kurds gathered to celebrate in Gewer (Yüksekova). During celebrations the security forces attacked civilians including women and children. During the conflict one of the demonstrators named Ikbal Yasar, 20, was shot dead in his heart by the police. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Roj TV, “when Ikram was injured, he could be taken to the hospital but they were hindered by the police. So he died.” Military forces also intervened as clashes spread throughout the town and police forces were unable to restore order

The celebrations quickly turned into demonstrations in support of Kurdish separatists. Protests continued there today.

In Amed, hundred thousands of people gathered and called for an “Autonomous Democratic Kurdistan’, amnesty for Abdullah Ocalan, and release of other political prisoners, as well as a democratic political solution for Kurdish issue.

Scores of Kurds have been rounded up and detained by Turkish police as well.

US Vice President Dick Cheney held talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara on Monday. There are no reports of Cheney denouncing the Turkish crack down on Kurds.

The following is from EuroNews.

Fresh violence as Turkish police clash with Kurdish protesters

There has been fresh violence on the streets of southeastern Turkey, where security forces have once again clashed with stone-throwing Kurdish protesters. Days of disturbances have centred on the city of Van and the town of Yuksekova. Unrest at pro-Kurdish rallies at the weekend in both locations left two people dead.

Today, injuries and arrests were reported as trouble continued to flare. Feelings are running high as Turkey's Kurdish population celebrates the Newroz spring festival. It is often a flashpoint for confrontation between the authorities and Kurds, campaigning for greater rights and autonomy.

In their hunt for those who had taken part in the protests, police even piled into a hospital.

Turkey recently carried out a cross-border ground offensive, targeting armed Kurdish rebels Ankara says have been using northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks on Turkish soil.

The raid has further heightened tension between security forces and Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

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