In Turkey there have been violent clashes between security forces and Kurdish demonstrators in several cities across the country, including Istanbul and Ankara. Molotov cocktails, stones and fireworks were thrown at police who responded with tear gas and water cannon.
The violence followed a threat by the leading Kurdish political party to boycott the country’s parliamentary elections in June because seven candidates backed by the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party have been disqualified from running.
The move has been criticised by politicians across the board but the Electoral Commission said the candidates have criminal convictions, mainly related to political activism, which make them ineligible for election.
The ruling AK Party, led by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is widely expected to win a third term in June. Kurds in the southeast of the country might however vote against them. Critics of the decision say that it is an anti-democratic attempt to keep pro-Kurd politicians out of power.