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 10 Turkish policemen injured in explosion in Turkey's Kurdish region

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10 Turkish policemen injured in explosion in Turkey's Kurdish region  15.7.2012  
By staff writers

A military vehicle rolled on its side in the eastern Kurdish province of Van, Turkey. Photo: AA

Smoke rises from burning tires as Kurdish demonstrators clash with Turkish police during a rally outlawed by state authorities to demand the release of jailed PKK rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, on July 14, 2012, in Diyarbakir. At least 20 people were wounded in the clashes. Several hundred protesters in multiple groups spread throughout the city of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey (northern Kurdistan) threw stones and swung sticks at Turkish police, who scattered them with water cannon and teargas Photo: Getty Images.
July 15, 2012

VAN, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — A roadside bomb explosion in the Kurdish region in eastern Turkey [northern Kurdistan] on Saturday injured 10 policemen riding in a van on their way to a shooting range, Turkey’s state-run TRT television said, AP reported.

The explosion in Van came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the city. There was no immediate responsibility claim, but Kurdish rebels who are fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey have targeted police with bombings in the past.

In speeches in Van and in the nearby city of Igdir on Friday, Erdogan ruled out negotiating with the Kurdish rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, for an end to the decades-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. Erdogan said state security forces would continue their struggle against the group until it lays down arms.

The attack came as police clashed with Kurdish activists trying to hold a rally in support of the PKK’s imprisoned leader in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir despite a government ban on the meeting. A Kurdish political party called the rally to press for house arrest for PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, instead of prison. The governor’s office would not permit the rally citing security concerns.

Stone-throwing Kurds who defied a protest ban to demand the release of jailed Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan clashed Saturday with Turkish police, leaving at least 20 people wounded.

A Kurdish lawmaker from the pro-Kurd Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Pervin Buldan and five Turkish police were among those injured in the clashes, on Saturday.

Dogan news agency video footage showed some activists throwing stones at police who used water cannons and tear gas to prevent a group of protesters that included some Kurdish legislators from reaching their rallying point.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

Sources: AP | | AFP | Reuters | Agencies

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