Turkey: death toll rises to four in street clashes

Police in southeastern Turkey fired warning shots into the air and used tear gas to disperse Kurdish demonstrators on Wednesday in the second day of violent protests by local Kurds which have left at least four people dead. Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast has experienced violent street protests for about a week after allegations surfaced that security forces may have been behind a recent bombing targeting a convicted Kurdish guerrilla.

One protester was killed on Wednesday during clashes with Turkish police in the southeastern city of Hakkari, bordering Iran and Iraq, raising the death toll to four, private NTV and CNN-Turk televisions said. Three civilians were killed in the town of Yuksekova on Tuesday.

The Anatolia news agency reported that police used tear gas warning shots to disperse hundreds of Kurds protesting in downtown Hakkari. Eight people, including two police officers, were also injured in violence in Hakkari, NTV said.

The allegations raised fears that security forces might have been carrying out a summary execution - common in the early 1990s in the fight against Kurdish rebels - and prompted the government to investigate, the AP reports.

The riots on Tuesday in Yuksekova left three civilians dead and 16 injured, including seven police officers, Hakkari's governor Erdogan Gurbuz said. It was not clear whether the police fired on the mob, which attempted to lynch two police officers.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired a meeting Wednesday to discuss the tensions in the southeast and vowed to bring culprits to justice.

Authorities have charged three sergeants from the paramilitary police and an informant from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in the Nov. 9 bombing in the town of Semdinli. The attack sparked protests that quickly spread to the nearby town of Yuksekova and Hakkari. A.M.

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