Twelve killed in pro-Kurdish protests across Turkey

Published October 8th, 2014 - 05:52 GMT

At least 12 people have been killed and dozens injured in pro-Kurdish protests across Turkey, as the Ankara government has threatened to use more deadly force against protesters.

On Tuesday, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to voice their anger at what they regard as Turkey’s failure to protect the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from the IS militants.

Local media reported that demonstrations were held mainly in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish eastern and southeastern provinces. Clashes were also reported in the biggest city Istanbul and in the capital Ankara.

Police forces fired teargas and used water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.

Reports said that clashes between protesters and police claimed five lives in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in the southeast.

A 25-year-old man lost his life in the town of Varto, located in the eastern province of Mus, where at least half a dozen people were also injured in the skirmishes.

Several other deaths were also reported in other southeastern towns in Turkey, including three killed in Mardin, two in Siirt, and one in Batman.

Meanwhile, Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala accused the pro-Kurdish demonstrators of “betraying their own country” and said they would face “unpredictable” consequences, if they do not disperse.

“Violence will be met with violence... This irrational attitude should immediately be abandoned and (the protesters) should withdraw from the streets,” Ala added.

The protests come as IS terrorists have advanced into the southwest of Kobani and its surroundings that have been under attack since mid-September, with the militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages. The intense fighting for the town has forced nearly 200,000 people to take refuge in Turkey.

Many Turkish Kurds are furious at the inaction of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's government with regard to the plight of Kurds in Kobane. They are also angry that Turkey has so far failed to launch a military intervention against the IS despite having parliamentary authorization.

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