Police detain 19 after bloody Turkish poll clash: reports


ISTANBUL: Turkish police Saturday detained 19 people after deadly clashes erupted when a lawmaker from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party campaigned in a Kurdish town near the Syrian border, local media reported.

Reports said four people died when MP Halil Yildiz met small businesses in Kurdish majority Suruc on Thursday.
Nineteen people including a candidate from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party were being held, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

There were conflicting reports about the circumstances of the killings, with pro-government media saying Yildiz and his supporters came under attack from opponents armed with knives and sticks.

The lawmaker himself escaped unharmed, the reports said. The identity of the victims was not immediately clear.

Anadolu had described it as an attack against Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and added that among those killed was the MP’s brother.

Erdogan, who is seeking a second term as president and a thumping majority in parliament in the coming elections, has blamed the bloodshed on the HDP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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