SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Turkish police and security forces have clashed with Kurds demonstrating against a controversial visit by the country’s main nationalist leader in the eastern city of Tunceli.
Clashes erupted on Friday after Kurdish protesters blocked roads to prevent Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), from heading to Cemevi, an Alawite prayer house in the city.
The protesters were angry over Bahçeli’s contentious remarks regarding a notorious massacre in Tunceli about seven decades ago.
Anti-riot police used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators who responded by throwing stones at the police.
A group of protesters attempted to march to the governor’s office building to show their anger over the visit.
The protest forced Bahçeli to cut short his trip and return south to the city of Elazığ.
He had earlier described the protests in Tunceli in the late 1930s as a rebellion and labeled the Kurd ancestors who participated in the events as terrorists.
Tunceli, formerly known as Dersim Province, witnessed the mass killing of Kurd protesters in 1937 and 1938 by Turkish police. Thousands of Kurds were killed and many others were internally displaced during their protests against Turkey’s Resettlement Law of 1934.