Turkish police arrests 15 in illegal pro-PKK protests

Five protesters and two police officers were hurt in the illegal protests, according to local hospitals.

Turkish police arrests 15 in illegal pro-PKK protests
Turkish police clashed with pro-PKK protesters and arrested at least 15 people demonstrating to mark the 10th anniversary on Sunday of the capture of separatist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Five protesters and two police officers were hurt in the illegal protests, according to local hospitals.

Protesters in Diyarbakir, the southeast's largest city, threw rocks at armoured police vehicles and police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a crowd of about 2,500 people that had gathered outside the headquarters of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), the only legal Kurdish political grouping.

Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir and lawmaker Aysel Tugluk, both DTP members, were present at the demonstration but police barred them from addressing the crowd.

Smaller protests were staged in towns across the southeast. In Sirnak, protesters throw Molotov cocktails at police, and authorities in Semdinli near the Iraqi border set up roadblocks to prevent demonstrations, witnesses said.

Ocalan, who founded the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in 1978, was apprehended on Feb. 15, 1999, while fleeing the Greek Embassy in Nairobi after a year-long international manhunt that took him from Syria to Russia, Italy, Greece and Kenya. He was sentenced to death later that year for treason, and his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2002.

The PKK launched a separatist attacks against the Turkish state in 1984. 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in violence. The U.S. and European Union call the PKK a terrorist group.

The DTP, the first pro-Kurdish party to enter parliament in more than a decade, faces a court ban for ties to the PKK.

Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Şubat 2009, 11:45
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