Page last updated at 21:25 GMT, Sunday, 2 November 2008

Kurdish protests at Erdogan visit


PKK and police clash in Istanbul and Yuksekova

Turkish police have clashed with demonstrators protesting against a visit by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the country's restive south-east region.

About 3,000 people took to the streets in the town of Yuksekova in Hakkari province, close to the Iraqi border.

Teargas was used to disperse another protest in Istanbul, where about 27 people were arrested, say reports.

Mr Erdogan has called for unity and pledged funding to develop the impoverished region.

"Let us protect our peace and stand united," he said, during a ceremony to open a new hospital in Yuksekova.

"If we increase our solidarity, we will also increase our development."

Recent weeks have seen a series of protests in the mainly Kurdish south-east of Turkey.

Unrest broke out amid rumours that a leader of the rebel group PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, had been mistreated in prison - claims strongly denied by the government.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in the south-east for over two decades and has stepped up its attacks in Turkey.

The Turkish government has also intensified its campaign against the PKK in recent weeks.

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