The events of October 6-7-8, 2014 took place after the Turkish opposition party HDP called its supporters onto the streets to rally in support of the city of Kobane, which was besieged by ISIS. The rallies soon developed into attacks on conservative Kurdish Free Cause Party (Huda-Par) supporters by the PKK’s youth arm, YDG-H. The HDP’s co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, personally provided that call to violence, and the result was a pogrom. More than fifty people died as a result of the clashes.
Yasin Boru, 16, Hakan Gokgoz, 26, Riyat Gunes, 28, and Huseyin Dakak, 19, were killed by a mob in Diyarbakır on the fourth day of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) on October 7, 2014. They were distributing food packages assigned by an aid association. Boru’s mother, Hatice said later that she will never forgive Demirtaş, who she said “incites hate and violence amongst people.”
After Yasin Boru violent death, his mother said that she could identify her son only from a mole on his foot and the shirt he was wearing. “The slaughterers tried to encircle the four of them in a street but they ran to take s helter in an apartment,” she said. “The slaughterers shot the three friends and then threw their bodies down from the third floor but, not satisfied with that, they then burned, beat, and slashed the bodies.”
The victims were brutally attacked with knives and guns by the protesters and took shelter in an apartment building where they were killed. The bodies of the victims were hardly recognizable by their families because of the injuries they had sustained.
The international press, in the past several years, failed spectacularly to responsibly and fairly report Turkish events to readers outside of the country. One of the most egregious examples was the reporting on violence that gripped Turkish cities in early October 2014:
The Reuters: “Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who burnt cars and tires as they took to the streets mainly in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish eastern and southeastern provinces. Clashes also erupted in the biggest city Istanbul and in the capital Ankara. Five people were killed in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in the southeast, which saw clashes between protesters and police.” (7 October)
The New York Times: “He (Erdogan) has also complicated his standing at home. His hesitation in helping the Syrian Kurds has enraged Turkey’s Kurdish minority, which staged protests against the Turkish government on Wednesday that reportedly led to the deaths of 21 people. Mr. Erdogan fears that defending Kobani would strengthen the Syrian Kurds, who have won de facto control of many border areas as they seek autonomy much like their Kurdish brethren in Iraq.” (9 October)
The Reuters:” Four people died and many others were wounded in southeast Turkey on Tuesday, local media reported, after violent clashes erupted between police and Kurds demonstrating in support of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani besieged by Islamic State militants.” (7 October)
The Reuters: “At least 12 people died on Tuesday during violent clashes across Turkey, local media reported, as the fate of the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani stirred up decades of tensions with Turkey’s Kurdish minority. Eight people died in Diyabakir, the largest Kurdish city in the southeast, DHA News agency reported, citing a senior police officer. Several others died in the eastern provinces of Mus, Siirt and Batman in clashes between police and protesters.” (8 October)
The Associated Press: “Kurdish protesters clashed with police in Turkey leaving at least 14 people dead and scores injured Tuesday as demonstrators in Brussels forced their way into the European Parliament, part of Europe-wide demonstrations against the Islamic State group’s advance on a town on the Syrian-Turkish border.” (7 October)
The New York Times: “This assumption is now undergoing a stress test. Many Kurds have decided to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with violent street protests, forcing the government to declare a curfew, for the first time in many years, in five predominantly Kurdish cities in Turkey’s southeast. They blame the Turkish government for not doing enough to save Kobani and for hindering Kurdish efforts to bring aid and fighters to the enclave from across the Turkish border.” (10 October)
The Reuters: ”Kurdish anger over Kobani has also revived long-standing grudges between sympathizers of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey’s Hezbullah-linked Islamist groups, which appear to be siding with Islamic State.” (9 October)
The BBC: “Ten of the deaths occurred in the main Turkish-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, where the rioting saw shops and buses set on fire as well as reported clashes between Kurdish activists and supporters of Islamist groups sympathetic to IS.
… While much of the unrest involved Kurdish protesters clashing with police, some of the violence was between Kurdish opponents of IS and radical Islamist Kurds who back the group.” (8 October)
Amnesty International: “Up to 18 people were reportedly shot or beaten to death during violent clashes in the region between the protesters and Islamist groups they claim are sympathetic to the IS.” (8 October)
The difference between the reality of what happening on 6-8 October 2014 in a number of Turkish cities, and the manner in which the international press reported it, was disgraceful. This was an example of organized violence, incited and legitimized by politicians from the political arm of a violent militant group. Dozens of people died and the international press did little more than provide cover for the perpetrators.