At least 21 people were killed on Tuesday across Turkey, as protesters demanded Government action over the Islamic State’s attack on the Kurdish center of Kobane in northern Syria.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who burnt cars and tyres, mainly in redominantly Kurdish areas of eastern and southeastern Turkey.
However, security forces claimed that most of the deaths came from fighting between members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and those of Hizbullah, an Islamist group which supported the State in the torture and murder of Kurdish activists in the 1990s.
Hizbollah reportedly supports the Islamic State, while the PKK supports the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and has tried to put its fighters into Kobane.
Eight people were killed in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in southeastern Turkey. Members of Hizbullah allegedly strafed a crowd of protesters, while a Hizbullah building was attacked.
Two people were reportedly slain in Mardin by gunfire from a faction linked to Hezbollah.
A man was killed when he was by a police tear gas canister in Mus in the east of the country. Two people died and 10 were injured in Siirt Province in the southeast and one in nearby Batman.
Clashes also erupted in the capital Ankara and in Istanbul, where almost 100 people were detained and 30 people were injured, including eight police officers, according to the Istanbul Governorship.
Authorities announced a curfew in six Kurdish-populated province, including the cities of Diyarbakir, Siirt, and Van, where thousands of protesters gathered. Schools were closed in Diyarbakir, and all flights were cancelled.
The protests occurred as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned that Kobane was about to fall to the Islamic State’s four-week offensive:
I am telling the West – dropping bombs from the air will not provide a solution,” Erdoğan said to cheers from crowds. The terror will not be over…unless there is cooperation for a ground operation,
However, Turkey kept its tanks and troops on its side of the border. Erdoğan has said that any intervention must also bolster the fight to overthrow Syria’s President Assad, and the Kurds in Kobane have said that they do not want Turkish ground forces — instead, they want Ankara to allow Kurdish reinforcements to cross the border into Syria and the supply of vitally-needed weapons to meet the Islamic State’s armor and artillery.
(Featured Photo: Reuters)