Demonstrators and police have clashed in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey as tensions mounted a day after two Kurdish men died of gunshot wounds in earlier protests that turned violent.
Police fired tear gas and water cannon on Sunday at demonstrators who threw stones and burnt barricades following the funeral of one of the victims killed on Saturday in the Lice district of Diyarbakir province, the AFP news agency reported.
“War, war, war! No to peace!” chanted thousands of mourners, including politicians, who marched behind a placard reading “Revenge.”
Police also briefly clashed with Kurdish protesters in Hakkari, another Kurdish-majority southeastern city, and in Bagcilar, a working-class district of Istanbul.
In a statement on Sunday, the Turkish army said Saturday’s fighting erupted after security forces were attacked with live ammunition, homemade grenades and petrol bombs, which left one soldier wounded.
The army called one of the men killed a “militant”.
Tensions have been on the rise in Lice since protesters blocked a road two weeks ago over the construction of new army posts in Kurdish-majority areas, seen as a threat to a peace process launched in 2012 between the government and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Earlier this week, six soldiers trying to remove protesters blocking the road were wounded after reportedly coming under fire from demonstrators.
The Kurdish fighters declared a ceasefire in March last year following secret talks with the country’s spy agency.
But the process came to a standstill after the PKK announced in September they were suspending their retreat from Turkish soil, accusing the government of failing to deliver on promised reforms.
The PKK, which is considered a terroist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, launched its armed campaign in 1984, seeking autonomy in the southeast in a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives. [Aljazeera]