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Kurdish mourners blast Turkish government

Hundreds of Kurds warn Prime Minister Erdogan to respect PKK peace process, a day after security forces kill protester.

Last Modified: 29 Jun 2013 16:07
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Medeni Yildirim, 18, was killed during a protest against the construction of police outpost in Lice district [AFP]

Hundreds of Kurds have marched in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey to mourn a demonstrator killed in clashes between villagers and security forces.

After the funeral on Saturday, mourners in the Kurdish-majority city warned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respect the peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"Behave, Erdogan, don't push us to the mountains!" they chanted, referring to the camps of the PKK in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Turkish public sector workers joined members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in a march through Istanbul on Saturday to show solidarity with the Kurds.

Turkish security forces killed 18-year-old Medeni Yildirim and wounded ten others on Friday when they fired on a group protesting against the construction of a new police outpost in the nearby Lice district.

The Interior Ministry said four inspectors would investigate the incident, which it said had involved up to 250 people attacking the construction site.

It also said the death resulted from warning shots fired to disperse the crowd.

Soldier kidnapped

In the same district a police sergeant was kidnapped late June 28, hours after clashes, according to Turkish Dogan News Agency.

The officer was driving his private car on the main road, when he was stopped in a checkpoint installed by PKK fighters, officials said.

Authorities immediately launched an search operation. The sergeant’s car was found burned near a forested land, the agency said.

Friday's clashes came as the government continued to grapple with mass anti-government demos that have been sweeping across the country since a protest to save Istanbul's Gezi Park was met with a heavy police crackdown on May 31. 

The demonstrations have so far left four people dead and nearly 8,000 injured.

Erdogan tried on Friday to reassure Turkey's Kurds that those protests, quelled with water cannon and tear gas, would not harm the peace process in the southeast.

The incident appears to be the most violent after the ceasefire declaration by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March and the start of the withdrawal of PKK from Turkish soil into northern Iraq.

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Source:
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