Street battles rage in eastern Turkey

Europe Uncategorized

Running battles between Kurdish civilians and police have resulted in at least one death in the eastern Turkish city of Van…

Violence erupted in Van’s Bostanci region on Tuesday when thousands of Kurds gathered to mark the funeral of two PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) guerrillas.

Police set up barricades in front and behind mourners of Cevher Þinas and Mehmet Bozan, trapping them.

The Kurds, angry at their treatment, responded by throwing stones.

Police fired a series of warning shots into the air, and then fired into the crowd.

One protester, Fahrettin Inan, 25, was shot several times and died at the scene. Nine other mourners were wounded.

On Wednesday, crowds returned to the streets to accompany Inan’s funeral car to nearby Bostanici-Fahrettin.

Again they were met by Turkish police and soldiers on their arrival at the town’s graveyard, sparking further violence.

Turkish officials attempted to stop Kurdish protesters from displaying the Kurdish national flag and photographs of dead PKK guerrillas.

The Turkish Government has been locked in conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) since it turned to terrorism in 1984, demanding recognition for Kurds, their culture and their human rights in Turkey.

Over 30,000 people, mainly Kurds, have died in armed battles with the Turks over land both sides lay claim to.

Recently the conflict has been more political than military, but in the 1980s and 1990s large areas of eastern Turkey were depopulated by the Turkish Army to discourage support for Kurdish separatists, who in turn killed Kurds who they accused of helping the Turkish state.