Turkey: police siege, ethnic violence follow PKK attack

A front-page New York Times story July 30 noted the release from prison of Berivan Sayaca, a 15-year-old Kurdish girl convicted of supporting terrorism by attending a protest rally and sentenced to nearly eight years behind bars. Berivan was freed about 10 months into her sentence after the Turkish Parliament passed a bill reducing the sentences of hundreds of youths, 18 and younger, who had been put on trial and nicknamed the “stone-throwing kids.”

Meanwhile, CNN reported July 29 that armed riot police blocked a convoy of Kurdish lawmakers from entering Dortyol district in southern Turkey. “There is still an expectation among people that these groups could attack each other, so we’re keeping them apart, taking preventative measures with the police in the city and with gendarme along the border areas,” said Dortyol governor Hayri Sandikci. Presumed PKK militants killed four Turkish police in an ambush in the district earlier that week.

Lawmakers from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, said they are traveling to Dortyol to investigate a series of ethnically-motivated attacks in the wake of the shooting.

See our last posts on Turkey and the Kurdish struggle.

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