ISTANBUL: Thousands of pro-Kurdish demonstrators incensed by Turkey’s inaction in the fight against jihadists on the Syrian border clashed with police across the country on Tuesday, leaving at least a dozen dead and many wounded.
Five people were killed in Diyarbakir, the largest town in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeast region, according to press reports.
Several other deaths were recorded in other southeastern towns, including three killed in Mardin, two in Siirt, one in Batman and another in Mus, while police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse angry protests in Istanbul and Ankara.
Thousands of people had joined the demonstrations called by the main pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), against Ankara’s failure so far to intervene militarily against Islamic State jihadists fighting for the Syrian border town of Kobane.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has vowed that Turkey will do whatever necessary to prevent the fall of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab.
But Kurds bitterly accuse Ankara of merely looking on as the town risks being overrun by jihadists despite dozens of Turkish tanks being deployed on the border.