Thousands of Kurds protest in Turkey over besieged Syrian town; one dead

October 7, 2014 20:08
1 minute read.


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A man died and dozens of people were wounded in demonstrations across Turkey on Tuesday, with Kurds demanding the government should do more to protect the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from Islamic State militants.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who burnt cars and tyres as they took to the streets mainly in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish eastern and southeastern provinces, although clashes erupted in the nation's biggest city, Istanbul, and the capital Ankara as well.

A 25-year-old man died in Varto, a town in the eastern province of Mus, and six others were wounded in clashes between the riot police and demonstrators, local media reported. Curfews were imposed in districts of the border province Mardin and the eastern province of Van after intense protests.

Islamic State fighters have advanced into the south west of Kobani, increasing pressure on Ankara to intervene in the conflict. The three-week-long assault has cost some 400 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

NATO-member Turkey has taken in more than 180,000 refugees who fled Kobani but has refrained from joining a U.S.-led coalition against Sunni militants, saying the campaign should be broadened to target the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Kurdish politicians, part of Turkey's fragile peace process with the jailed leader of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to end a three-decade insurgency, have criticised Turkey for inaction.

Ankara rejected the criticism. "It is a massive lie that Turkey is doing nothing on Kobani," Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said on Twitter. "Turkey is doing whatever can be done in humanitarian aspects."

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