Clare Nuttall in Bucharest -
Up to 14 people were killed in violent protests across Turkey on October 7. Kurdish groups demanding intervention against the Islamic State militants in Syria clashed with both police and members of the radical Islamic group Hizbullah.
Protests broke out in towns across the majority Kurdish east and southeast regions of Turkey on October 7, as Turkey’s Kurdish population expressed its anger and frustration over the lack of action to prevent the fall of Kobane, a mainly Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey.
Eight people were killed in the southeastern town of Diyarbakir, where according to Hurriyet Daily News members of the radical Islamist group Hizbullah opened fire on pro-intervention protesters. Five of those killed in clashes between protesters sympathetic to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Islamist radicals were linked to Hizbullah.
Elsewhere in Turkey more deaths were reported as Kurdish protesters clashed with police. Almost 100 people were detained in Istanbul, and arrests were also made in Ankara. A curfew has now been imposed across six Turkish regions.
Turkish security forces also prevented hundreds of Kurds from crossing the border to fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane.
Turkish forces are reported to be lined up along the country’s border with Syria, but so far have not advanced.
Turkey’s relationship with its large Kurdish population is the main reason for Ankara’s reluctance to become involved in the conflict. The Turkish government wants to see Bashir Al-Assad toppled in Syria, but does not want to see either the Syrian Kurds or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey strengthened as a result.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 7 that Kobane was about to fall, and called for cooperation “for a ground operation.”
“We had warned the West. We wanted three things: no-fly zone, a secure zone parallel to that, and the training of moderate Syrian rebels,” Erdogan said during a visit to a Kurdish refugee camp, the BBC reported.
On October 2, the Turkish parliament approved a motion to allow a military force in Iraq and Syria against the IS. Some three-quarters of MPs voted in favour, signalling a major change in Turkey’s stance on intervention. The vote would allow Turkish forces to be deployed in both countries, alongside around 40 other members of a Nato-led coalition, as well as allowing foreign troops access to Turkish territory.
While Turkey has borne the brunt of Kurdish anger over the lack of action in Syria, there have also been demonstrations in several other European countries. Hundreds demonstrated in several German cities, and a small group of protesters broke into the European parliament on October 7.
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