Turkish security forces fire on protest in southeast, one dead

Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:20pm EDT
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By Seyhmus Cakan

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish security forces killed one person and wounded ten on Friday when they fired on a group protesting against the construction of a new gendarmerie outpost in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey, a Kurdish party lawmaker said.

The incident, in Kayacik village in Diyarbakir province, appeared to be the most violent in the region since a ceasefire declaration by Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan in March in the conflict between his Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish state.

Hundreds marched in two central Istanbul districts to protest the event in Diyarbakir, a scene hardly imaginable in the city three weeks ago, before unprecedented anti-government demonstrations and riots in Istanbul. Those protests, unrelated to the 'Kurdish question', may have changed somewhat the attitude to protest in some sectors of society.

Turkey's main Kurdish party called earlier for marches in three major cities this weekend to launch a summer of protests to raise pressure on Ankara for reforms under a peace process with the PKK. Leaders said the rallies would be peaceful.

Diyarbakir Governor Cahit Kirac said around 200 protesters marched on Friday onto the construction site where the outpost was being built to replace an existing one, with some throwing petrol bombs and setting fire to workers' tents.

"At this point, the soldiers fired warning shots and a riot broke out. There were then reports of one person being killed and six people being wounded, two of them seriously. These reports are not confirmed, we are investigating," Kirac said.

A 18-year-old man, Medeni Yildirim, died during the shooting, media reports and Kurdish party said.

"One citizen lost his life as a result of the shooting, ten people are wounded, three...heavily," the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmaker and co-chairperson Gultan Kisanak said in a statement.   Continued...

A worker fixes a giant portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at the top of the Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul's Taksim Square June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Osman Orsal