Tear gas and water cannons were used by Turkish police to disperse hundreds of people protesting against security operations and curfews in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. Police made 33 arrests.
Senior officials of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) had called for an end to what they called a "massacre" in Diyarbakir's historic district of Sur which has been on lockdown since the start of December.
HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtas said on Wednesday that his party would "resist" what he called the destruction of cities and the killing of civilians in the name of fighting terrorism. Police and soldiers have launched operations against militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who put up barricades and dug trenches in the neighborhood following the breakdown of a two-year ceasefire last July.
"The people of Diyarbakir are against the government's policy of war and massacre and the burning and destruction of their own city," Demirtas said in an interview.
The number of civilians killed during the security operations in Sur, Cizre and two other towns, Silopi and Idil, has reached 211 since December, the HDP said.
Prime minister' warning
On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said members of the HDP, the third largest party in parliament, had sought to collaborate with "terrorists" and to drag Turkey into chaos. Parliamentary immunity should not protect lawmakers who "commit crimes," he said.
Davutoglu also said there were plans to make it easier for civilians to leave areas under curfew, as well as to allow militants to surrender.
Residents returning to the homes they fled last December in the city of Cizre, have tried to retrieve belongings from houses either destroyed or badly damaged during the round-the-clock curfew. The curfew in Cizre, which lies on the Syrian border, lasted a total of 79 days.
"We fled on December 14 along with our kids, only taking our clothes we wore. Nothing else," said Hadi Akyurek, a local shopkeeper. "Our house was destroyed. Our belongings remained under the rubble. We are left with nothing."
jm/sms (Reuters, AFP)