Turkish ultra-nationalists shout anti-Kurdish slogans during a protest. File photo
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The United States denounced mob violence against Turkey’s main Kurdish party Wednesday but did not assign blame for it and also condemned PKK rebel attacks on Turkish forces.
Growing anger over the renewed conflict between government forces and Kurdish rebels boiled over this week in major Turkish cities with nationalist attacks on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The US State Department said the violence and vandalism directed towards HDP facilities and the Hurriyet newspaper was “unacceptable” and endorsed calls from the Turkish government for calm.
“There is no place in a democracy for violent protest, particularly those motivated by partisanship or ethnic animosity,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
“And, as I said yesterday, we expect Turkish authorities to uphold Turkey’s core values, democratic foundations and universally recognized fundamental freedoms.”
The United States, while expressing a preference for a long-term political solution, has supported its ally Turkey’s right to respond to attacks from the banned PKK Kurdish armed group.
“These events followed an escalation in violence over the weekend, as you know, by the PKK,” Kirby said.
“We strongly condemn the PKK’s terrorist attacks on Sunday that killed 16 soldiers and 12 police officers. This represents a deadly escalation in violence and hurts the cause of those Kurds who want to live in peace.”
The tension in Turkey increased sharply after 29 soldiers and police were killed in two attacks in the country’s east on Sunday and Tuesday, the deadliest in this recently renewed phase of the conflict.