A protest about an armed attack that killed seven members of a Kurdish family was held Saturday in the Turkish city of Van in the country’s central Konya province. Relatives of the slain family say the attack Friday was racially motivated.
"This was an entirely racist attack,” Abdurrahman Karabulut, the family’s lawyer, told Arti TV.
Karabulut and the pro-Kurdish opposition party said the family had been previously targeted for being Kurdish. Gunmen attacked the family in May and the family was worried about being attacked again.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said calling the attack a racist crime was "a provocation."
The Associated Press reports several people were arrested after the May attack and two suspects remain in custody.
Turkish officials say the attack was the result of a lengthy feud between two families.
The other family involved in the skirmishes is not Kurdish.
VOA Kurdish Service’s Van, Turkey-based stringer Arif Aslan said after Saturday’s protest, police began attacking demonstrators.
Aslan told VOA that police attacked him and prevented him from taking any footage of the clashes. The police, Aslan said, told him that his VOA credentials were not acceptable, and Van’s public prosecutor wanted Aslan arrested.
By that time, however, Aslan’s lawyer was on the scene and told the police that they did not have the right to obstruct journalists from doing their jobs. Aslan said he was held on the street for an hour but was not arrested.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.