Kurdish protester shot dead in Turkey clashes
DIYARBAKIR - A Kurdish protester was shot dead and two others wounded on Tuesday during violent clashes with the Turkish security forces in southeast Turkey, an AFP reporter said.
Clashes erupted when protesters gathered at a cemetery outside the town of Lice to prevent soldiers from demolishing a controversial statue of a founder of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Backed by helicopters, security forces launched an early morning operation to dismantle the statue of Mahsum Korkmaz, a commander who had planned the initial attacks by the PKK in what would become a 30-year insurgency against Turkish authorities.
The incident quickly turned violent, with Turkish soldiers firing live bullets, eye witnesses said.
The victim was a demonstrator in his 20s and died in the hospital of gunshot wounds to the head, security sources and witnesses said.
The statue of Korkmaz, which shows him dressed for battle and with a rifle by his side, was unveiled on Saturday, on the 30th anniversary of the first PKK attacks.
The move sparked outrage among Turkish nationalists who denounced it as the unwanted result of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's policy of granting greater rights to the country's Kurdish minority.
Two days later, a court in Lice ordered its demolition after complaints that it was promoting terrorism.
Turkey is seeking to restart stalled peace talks with the separatist PKK -- which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies -- to end a conflict that claimed an estimated 40,000 lives.