On 27th anniversary of their organization, Kurdish militants clash with Turkish police

Kurdish militants, armed with firebombs and stones, battled with Turkish police on Sunday to mark the 27th anniversary of the founding of a Kurdish guerrilla organization that has been fighting for autonomy in the country's southeast.

Masked supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, threw firebombs and stones at riot police in two low-income Istanbul suburbs and also clashed with police in the southern city of Mersin, to mark the foundation of the group on Nov. 27, 1978, by Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in prison in Turkey since 1999.

The militants torched several cars as they disappeared into the back streets, private NTV television reported. Police detained dozens of protesters, the Anatolia news agency said.

In other reported violence on Sunday, Kurdish guerrillas kidnapped three men in southeastern Turkey and later executed two of them, Anatolia said.

The third man was sent to town to get food, but went to inform security officials of the kidnapping, the agency said. When police arrived at the scene, they found the bodies of Halil Mese and Metin Durbak, who had been shot, Anatolia said.

Mese was a guard and Durbak his friend, the agency said. The reason for the kidnapping and killings, which occurred in Dortyol near the Syrian border, was not clear.

Turkish security forces have been battling Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 37,000 people have died in the fighting, AP reported. V.A.

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