Two dead in Turkey's southeast as Islamists, Kurds clash

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 27, 2014 11:17 AM

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Two people died and three others were wounded on Saturday in clashes between Islamists and Kurdish youths in Turkey's southeastern town of Cizre, the government said.

Security sources said clashes erupted after midnight between members of the Islamist Free Cause Party (Huda-Par) and youth groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The two groups are historically fierce rivals. Huda-Par draws support from sympathizers of Turkey's Hizbullah militant group which fought the PKK in the 1990s.

Tensions were still high in the town bordering Syria after the clashes, which the Turkish police had difficulty in containing, the security sources said.

The office of the governor of Sirnak province, which announced the two deaths, said in a statement: "Necessary work is still being carried out in the region with the help of our security forces, armored vehicles and helicopters."

Thirty-five people died in early October after Kurds rioted in several southeastern cities over what they perceived as the government's refusal to help Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in the besieged town of Kobani across the border.

The violence, the worst seen in the region in many years, was partly driven by intense clashes between Kurds and the Islamists.

Calm in the region is key to a shaky peace process in which the government is negotiating an end to a 30-year insurgency with the jailed leader of the outlawed PKK who called a ceasefire last year.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan, Writing by Humeyra Pamuk, Editing by Stephen Powell)