Over 10,000 took to the streets of Ankara on Thursday in a what organizers called a non-partisan, anti-terrorism rally. The march was organized by a coalition of NGOs, trade unions, and business groups under the motto “Yes to unity and solidarity, no to terror.” The demonstration comes three days ahead of one on the same theme to be held in Istanbul, which is expected to be addressed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Damn the PKK,” the crowd chanted, referring to the outlawed guerilla group the Kurdish Workers’ Party, which
with government forces after Ankara called off three years of peace talks in July. Since that time, the PKK has killed at least 120 Turkish soldiers and police.
The reignited conflict between security forces and the PKK has
, as some critics argue that Erdogan used
claimed by “Islamic State” (IS) terrorists in southern Turkey in July as a pretext to lash out against the PKK. He has done this, his opponents argue, in hopes of winning more nationalist voters when Turkey has a fresh general election in November.
Some 40,000 people have died since the PKK took up arms in 1984 seeking an independent state for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. The rebel group has since refocused its goals on securing more autonomy and cultural rights.
es/sms (AFP, dpa)
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