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Turkey police clash with Kurdish protesters

Turkish police have clashed with a group of Kurdish protesters in the province of Sirnak, using water cannon and tear gas to disperse them.

The protesters, supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), blocked a main highway connecting the city of Silopi to the nearby town of Habur on Saturday night.

The protest rally reportedly turned violent after police intervened to end the protest. The demonstrators in turn hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the riot police and their vehicles.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead on both sides.

In March 2013, the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, declared a historic ceasefire after months of negotiations with the Turkish government.

Later in September, however, the PKK put on hold their withdrawal from the Turkish soil and the peace process stopped. They accused the Turkish government of failing to deliver on promised reforms.

Ankara formally submitted a package of reforms to parliament in December in an attempt to enhance the rights of the Kurdish community.

The package was rejected by the Kurds. They demand the release of Kurdish prisoners and political activists, the lifting of restrictions on Kurdish-language education in state schools and reducing the ten-percent election threshold required to secure seats in the 550-seat parliament.

By Press TV


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