ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Kurdish demonstrators clashed with riot police in Istanbul and southeast Turkey on Saturday and Sunday following violent arrests of Kurdish leaders by Turkish security forces in 11 provinces, from Diyarbakir and neighboring cities to Istanbul and Izmir.
Turkish security forces last Friday broke into the homes of prominent DTP leaders at 5 am, rounding up and arresting around 60 people, including seven mayors of Kurdish provinces and districts and the human rights association chairperson in Diyarbakir. Prosecutors Friday charged 23 Kurds, including the seven mayors, with ties to a political arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Turkish Dogan news agency reported that police dispersed dozens of protesters in Istanbul’s largely Kurdish Gazi district on Sunday. Police in the southeastern towns of Yuksekova and Hakkari used water canons and tear gas against demonstrators on the second day of violent protests that began after Friday’s crackdown.
10 people were injured during the protests, including two policemen, and a dozen arrested, reported AFP.
The demonstrations follow a week of clashes between Turkish police and Kurdish protesters throughout the country stemming from a mid-December ruling by a Turkish court to outlaw the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) because of alleged ties to the PKK.
The DTP closure and the subsequent arrest of Kurdish community leaders has provoked outrage among Turkey’s beleaguered Kurdish population of 30 million.
The closure and the arrests stand in stark contrast to claims by the government that it seeks to reconcile with the minority Kurdish population which has been seeking equal rights for decades.