June 30, 2013 / 6:49 AM / 6 years ago

Kurdish protesters clash with Turkish security forces

Protesters stand as riot police surround the area during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Kurdish protesters clashed with security forces in Turkey’s southeast on Sunday ahead of demonstrations planned across the country to pressure the government to carry out reforms.

A few hundred protesters burned tires and closed a main road near the Cizre district of Sirnak province. Some threw firebombs at police who responded with water cannon and teargas.

Security forces killed an 18-year-old man and wounded 10 others when they fired on a group protesting against the construction of a gendarmerie outpost in the Kurdish-dominated southeast on Friday.

It was the most violent incident since a ceasefire was called in March by Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and threatens to derail a nascent peace process with the state.

Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) called for protest marches around the country on Sunday, raising fears of violence, while a gay pride march is due in Istanbul, as anti-government protesters seek to back gay rights.

Around 10,000 protesters marched on Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday, which has been at the centre of weeks of anti-government demonstrations, but were prevented from entering the square by riot police.

The protest had been planned as part of larger, anti-government demonstrations unrelated to the Kurdish peace process, but became a voice of solidarity with the Kurds after Friday’s killing.

The PKK took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state, but has since moderated its goals to autonomy. PKK militants began withdrawing from Turkish territory to bases in northern Iraq last month as part of a deal between Ocalan and Turkey to end a conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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