Thousands of people held protests in various cities in Turkey on Sunday, condemning terrorism in the wake of the killing of 24 soldiers in Hakkari’s Çukurca district last week in a series of attacks by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The killings led to nationwide public outrage, with almost all segments of society, including figures from the country’s Kurdish population, speaking out against the PKK. The Turkish military has launched a massive operation against the PKK.
People gathered in city squares and parks in the provinces of Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, Gaziantep, Artvin, Mardin, Şırnak, Artvin, Adana, Zonguldak, Mardin, Kayseri, Antalya, Çanakkale, Denizli, Muğla, Balıkesir, Manisa and Denizli and also marched short distances to express their anger towards terrorism.
In Ankara a group of people from the Confederation of Public Workers’ Rights Labor Union (HAKSEN) walked to Güvenpark, where they recited prayers for the dead soldiers. Another group that organized through social media had also gathered in Güvenpark and visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of nation’s founder Atatürk.
İzmir was the scene of a protest by some 60,000 people who congregated at Gündoğdu Square with placards reading “We are all soldiers, we will bring down the PKK.” Approximately 2,000 people separated from the crowd and walked to the headquarters of the İzmir branch of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and threw stones at the building. Police tried to prevent the group from hanging a Turkish flag from the BDP building after which a skirmish occurred. When police allowed the group to hang the flag on the building, the conflict subsided.
In Gaziantep a group of people gathered at Democracy Square. Carrying Turkish flags, they walked to the house of martyred soldier Fevzi Kazak, who died in the Çukurca attack. The group then returned to the square and sang the national anthem.
A number of political parties and civil society organizations staged a protest in Artvin under the theme “Condemn terrorism, respect martyrs.” The meeting was sponsored by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Felicity Party (SP). Carrying Turkish flags, the group walked from Cumhuriyet Street to a nearby car park and then dispersed.
In Mardin a group of people got together at Yenişehir Square and shouted slogans against the PKK. Orhan Kandemir, head of the Temporary Village Guards Association, who spoke at the meeting, said that the PKK should not speak on behalf of the Kurdish people.
Elsewhere, in Şırnak, people gathered in front of the building of the Yeşeren Youth Association and recited prayers for the soldiers who died in the attack at Çukurca.
In Antalya motorcycle riders rode between Antalya and Kemer, carrying Turkish flags.
Denizli was the scene of a protest staged by some 15,000 people at Dlikçınar Square, while in Marmaris protestors were joined by fishermen in their boats who blew their horns in support of the protestors.
In Balıkesir approximately 12,000 people demanded that capital punishment be reintroduced in Turkey. They hung an effigy of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, in protest.
Meanwhile, a group of people who had gathered after a call to protest by the Union of Turkish Associations of Germany (ATDB) held a demonstration in Germany’s Cologne. Some 500 people gathered shouting slogans such as “Damn PKK” and “Turkey will be Apo’s graveyard,” in reference to Öcalan.
ATDB Chairperson İsa İlyasoğlu said they strongly condemn the Çukurca attack by the PKK. He added that Turkish people have no problem with Turkey’s Kurdish citizens.
In addition, Gülten Kaya, widow of Kurdish musician Ahmet Kaya, said in regards to Turks and Kurds that it is sad to see that the country’s people, who share so much in common, are in pain.
Kurdish businessmen in northern Iraq stated that they strongly condemn the attacks by the terrorist PKK against Turkish security personnel, civilians and businesses.
There are hundreds of Turkish businessmen who have invested millions of dollars in northern Iraqi cities and are working side by side with Kurdish businessmen. A Kurdish businessman from northern Iraq who cooperates with a Turkish businessman from Kayseri said the PKK has shown its real face with the latest attacks and that the PKK cannot ruin Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood.
24 October 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL