Kurds riot in Turkey as Ankara refuses to save ISIS besieged town

At least 12 people have been killed in riots that broke out in several Turkish cities, as Kurds protested inaction by the government to save the border town of Kobani from being overrun by ISIS. Turkish tanks and troops are sitting a mere 200 meters from the town on the Turkish side of the border as lightly armed Kurdish militiamen battle the tanks and heavy guns of ISIS currently attacking Kobani on three sides.

Newsweek:

At least 12 people died on Tuesday during violent clashes across Turkey, local media reported, as the fate of the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane stirred up decades of tensions with Turkey's Kurdish minority.

Violence erupted in Turkish towns and cities mainly in the Kurdish southeastern provinces, as protesters took to the streets to demand the government do more to protect Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish settlement which has been surrounded by Islamic State fighters for three weeks.

Authorities imposed curfews in at least five provinces, police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators who burnt cars and tires, whilst groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) clashed with Islamic State sympathizers, authorities said.

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Eight people died in Diyabakir, the largest Kurdish city in the southeast, DHA News agency reported, citing a senior police officer. Several others died in the eastern provinces of Mus, Siirt and Batman in clashes between police and protesters.

Istanbul Governor's Office said 98 people were detained in 'illegal protests' across the country's biggest city, and 30 people were wounded, including eight police officers.

The death toll in one night has already surpassed that seen during weeks of anti-government protests which turned violent last year.

Protesters burnt Turkish flags and sculptures of the founder of the modern Turkish republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, gestures likely to infuriate nationalist Turks and the government.

"I condemn those who burn flags and Ataturk sculptures. These are provocations carried out to prevent help coming to the east (towards Kobane) from the west," Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the HDP, Turkey's leading Kurdish party.

NATO-member Turkey has taken in more than 180,000 refugees who fled Kobane but has refrained from joining a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni Muslim militants, instead calling for the creation of a buffer zone along its Syria border.

There has been an uneasy truce in Turkey between the Kurdish Workers Party known as the PKK - designated a terrorist group by the US State Department - and the Turkish government as talks have been underway to give the restive region more autonomy. As their fellow Kurds across the border face the prospect of wholesale slaughter at the hands of ISIS terrorists, the truce now appears to have been shaken by President Erdogan's inaction.

Air strikes by the US coalition appear to have temporarily pushed ISIS out of Kobani. But US military observers harbor no illusions about the outcome of the battle. The Kurds are grimly hanging on but air strikes alone won't dislodge ISIS fighters from their positions. If Kobani does fall, and Erdogan remains on the sidelines, the protests will no doubt intensify and the prospect of peace between the two sides will slip away.

 

At least 12 people have been killed in riots that broke out in several Turkish cities, as Kurds protested inaction by the government to save the border town of Kobani from being overrun by ISIS. Turkish tanks and troops are sitting a mere 200 meters from the town on the Turkish side of the border as lightly armed Kurdish militiamen battle the tanks and heavy guns of ISIS currently attacking Kobani on three sides.

Newsweek:

At least 12 people died on Tuesday during violent clashes across Turkey, local media reported, as the fate of the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane stirred up decades of tensions with Turkey's Kurdish minority.

Violence erupted in Turkish towns and cities mainly in the Kurdish southeastern provinces, as protesters took to the streets to demand the government do more to protect Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish settlement which has been surrounded by Islamic State fighters for three weeks.

Authorities imposed curfews in at least five provinces, police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators who burnt cars and tires, whilst groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) clashed with Islamic State sympathizers, authorities said.

Newsweek Magazine is Back In Print

Eight people died in Diyabakir, the largest Kurdish city in the southeast, DHA News agency reported, citing a senior police officer. Several others died in the eastern provinces of Mus, Siirt and Batman in clashes between police and protesters.

Istanbul Governor's Office said 98 people were detained in 'illegal protests' across the country's biggest city, and 30 people were wounded, including eight police officers.

The death toll in one night has already surpassed that seen during weeks of anti-government protests which turned violent last year.

Protesters burnt Turkish flags and sculptures of the founder of the modern Turkish republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, gestures likely to infuriate nationalist Turks and the government.

"I condemn those who burn flags and Ataturk sculptures. These are provocations carried out to prevent help coming to the east (towards Kobane) from the west," Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the HDP, Turkey's leading Kurdish party.

NATO-member Turkey has taken in more than 180,000 refugees who fled Kobane but has refrained from joining a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni Muslim militants, instead calling for the creation of a buffer zone along its Syria border.

There has been an uneasy truce in Turkey between the Kurdish Workers Party known as the PKK - designated a terrorist group by the US State Department - and the Turkish government as talks have been underway to give the restive region more autonomy. As their fellow Kurds across the border face the prospect of wholesale slaughter at the hands of ISIS terrorists, the truce now appears to have been shaken by President Erdogan's inaction.

Air strikes by the US coalition appear to have temporarily pushed ISIS out of Kobani. But US military observers harbor no illusions about the outcome of the battle. The Kurds are grimly hanging on but air strikes alone won't dislodge ISIS fighters from their positions. If Kobani does fall, and Erdogan remains on the sidelines, the protests will no doubt intensify and the prospect of peace between the two sides will slip away.