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Pro-Kurdish Protesters Clash with Turkish Police; 1 Dead

  • VOA News

Turkish riot police detain protesters rallying against what they see as Turkey's inaction against Islamic State militants moving against Kurds in Syria, close to Turkey's border, in Ankara, Oct. 7, 2014.

Turkish riot police detain protesters rallying against what they see as Turkey's inaction against Islamic State militants moving against Kurds in Syria, close to Turkey's border, in Ankara, Oct. 7, 2014.

One person was killed in southeast Turkey on Tuesday as police clashed with hundreds of pro-Kurdish protesters demonstrating against the country's inaction toward Islamic State militants.

Turkish media issued conflicting reports on whether the protester was shot or hit by a tear gas canister fired to disperse protesters in the city of Mus.

Police clashed with demonstrators around the country Tuesday, including in Istanbul and Ankara.

Kurds are pleading with the Turkish government to intervene in the northern Syrian border city of Kobani, where Kurdish fighters are in a third week of defending it from IS militants.

Turkey's president said Tuesday the town may fall soon without ground action.

The Turkish parliament last week authorized the use of military force in Syria and Iraq, where the ultra-radical Sunni group has taken over territory this year.

But the Turkish army has not advanced from its position across the border from Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab.

Unfulfilled promises

In an interview with VOA’s Turkish Service late Monday, the leader of a prominent northern Syrian Kurdish political group, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, Saleh Muslim, called the Islamic State offensive into Kurdish-dominated northern Syria "a humanitarian crisis" and "genocide."

"I know Kobani will not fail, but if we are talking about IS, no one can guarantee that their next target won't be Turkey," Muslim said.

Muslim said Turkey denied a request by the Kurdish YPG militia, part of the forces defending northern Syrian towns from Islamic State fighters, for a corridor through Turkey to funnel Kurdish forces into Kobani.

"We visited Turkey and sat down with officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. We asked them what could be done to protect Kobani. They made promises to provide us with some assistance and to cooperate with us. Thus far, however, they have not fulfilled these promises. We are still waiting for them," Muslim said.

He added that collaboration between Turkey and Kurdish factions against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, could strengthen the fragile relationship between the two sides.

Peace talks began in 2012 with the aim of ending a 30-year-old insurgency by militants pushing for greater Kurdish rights.

"If Turkey wants, they can help us in Kobani. The city is besieged by ISIS from three directions. The only open direction is with Turkey...," Muslim told VOA. "If Turkey really sees ISIS as a threat, then they will come and fight with us against them. We (Kurds) are already fighting ISIS on the ground. Turkey hasn’t done anything in this regard. This concerns us," said Muslim.

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