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One killed as violence erupts in Kurdish demonstrations

Video by Mark Thompson

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-07

One man was shot dead as clashes erupted between the police and thousands of Kurdish demonstrators this Sunday in Diyarbakir, the largest city in south-eastern Turkey.

REUTERS - One man was shot dead on Sunday in clashes between Turkish police and protesters in the largely Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in new tension ahead of a trial that may close the largest pro-Kurdish party.

Thousands of Kurds marched in the streets of southeastern Turkey’s largest city, throwing stones at security forces and pelting the ruling AK Party’s headquarters with rocks.

Hospital and security sources said a university student was shot dead at Dicle University campus. It was not clear who shot the student.

Demonstrations were also taking place in the neighbouring cities of Siirt, Mardin, Batman and Hakkari.

Tensions have risen in the past few days in southeastern Turkey as the Democratic Society Party (DTP) prepares for a hearing on Dec. 8 in a court case that aims to shut it down for alleged links with a banned Kurdish separatist group.

The case could reignite ethnic tensions in the region where 40,000 people have died in violence since 1984 when the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) took up arms to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey.

Violence had eased in recent months as the government says it aims to boost rights for the Kurdish minority, Turkey’s largest at 12 million.

All but one of the DTP’s pro-Kurdish predecessors have been banned after similar court cases. The Peace and Democracy Party operates but has little power and no members of parliament.

The 21 DTP party deputies will resign from parliament if the party is closed, DTP’s Party Chairman Ahmet Turk said on Friday.

The EU has criticised the lawsuit against the DTP, warning Turkey that banning the party would violate Kurdish rights.

The government’s planned pro-Kurdish reforms include the creation of an independent body to investigate cases of torture by security forces in the southeast as well as further loosen restrictions on the Kurdish language.

Some see the reforms as aimed at gaining votes following losses for the AK Party in the southeast in local elections.
 

Date created : 2009-12-06

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