Pro-Kurdish protesters in new clashes with Turkish police

Turkish riot police use teargas to disperse pro-Kurdish protesters on Oct 8, 2014 in Ankara during a demonstration against attacks launched by Islamic State (IS) group, targeting the Syrian city Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, and lack of
Turkish riot police use teargas to disperse pro-Kurdish protesters on Oct 8, 2014 in Ankara during a demonstration against attacks launched by Islamic State (IS) group, targeting the Syrian city Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, and lack of government action. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Pro-Kurdish protesters angered by the Turkish government's lack of action against Islamist terrorists in Syria clashed for the third night running with police as the death toll from the violence rose to 22, officials said.

To the fury of Turkey's Kurds, Ankara has not intervened militarily against Islamic State (IS) fighters trying to take the mainly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border.

Defying a curfew imposed by the army, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in cities of mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey and were dispersed by police using water cannon and tear gas, television said.

Meanwhile, clashes also took place in several districts of Istanbul with demonstrators throwing stones and anti-riot police responding with tear gas, an AFP correspondent said. Violent protests were also reported in Ankara and the southern city of Mersin.

Meanwhile the death toll from the violence rose to 22 after two bodies were found when workers cleared up the damage from Tuesday night's unrest in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Mardin.

The clashes Wednesday night appeared less ferocious than the bloody violence on Tuesday and all of the fatalities appear so far to have been caused on Tuesday.

At least ten people were killed on Tuesday in Turkey's main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, where supporters of an extremist Sunni Kurdish group had clashed with anti-IS Kurds.

The curfew was lifted Thursday morning in Diyarbakir and other cities of the southeast but was expected to be reimposed. Schools in Diyarbakir have been closed until Monday.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu late Wednesday blamed "hooligans" for the unrest that threatens to hurt a fragile peace process between Ankara and Kurdish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels who have waged a 30-year insurgency for self-rule.

The clashes started on Monday night following a call from Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party the People's Democratic Party (HDP) for people to take to the streets to condemn the government stance on Kobane.