Kurdish unrest in Turkey spreads to areas bordering Syria, Iraq

Monday, April 3, 2006

ANKARA Kurdish unrest has spread throughout much of southern Turkey.

Officials said some of the organizers came from such neighbors as Iran, Iraq and Syria.

On Saturday, about 1,000 Kurds rampaged through the town of Kiziltepe near the Syrian border, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said the Kurds, many of them youngsters, torched two banks, a building used by the ruling Justice and Development Party and battled Turkish security forces.

One person was killed and another 10 were injured in Kiziltepe, officials said. So far, eight people have been killed in what officials termed the worst civil unrest in Turkey since the late 1970s.

"The security forces will intervene against the pawns of terrorism, no matter whether they are children or women," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said. "Everyone should realize that."

The unrest began on March 28 after funerals for 14 operatives of the Kurdish Workers Party, killed in a Turkish military operation a week ago. Over the following days, thousands of Kurds fought security forces as Kurdish insurgents detonated a bomb in Istanbul in which one person was killed.

On Saturday, Kurds and police also clashed in Silopi near the Iraqi border. The rioters hurled rocks at sticks at security officers, who responded by firing tear gas.

The Kurdish riots stemmed in Diyarbakir, where most of the violence has taken place. Authorities reported that the city of 1 million was quiet on Saturday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians have been participating in the Kurdish insurgency against Ankara. He said three Syrians, an Iraqi, and an Iranian were among the 14 PKK fighters killed in late March.

Gul said Iran, Iraq and Syria were cooperating with Turkey on intelligence issues regarding the PKK. In an interview on Turkish television, Gul called on the Baghdad government to stop PKK activities in northern Iraq.

"Otherwise, in the future, the PKK forces will definitely inflict losses against Iraq as well as Turkey," Gul said.

Copyright 2006 East West Services, Inc.

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