London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Turkish officials condemned the ongoing unrest in the country as Kurds continue to protest in solidarity with the Syrian border town of Kobani, under siege by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Turkey has witnessed some of the worst violence in the spillover from Syria as four people were killed and 20 wounded in Gaziantep during armed clashes on Thursday night. Two branches of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were set on fire, Dogan News Agency reported.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala held a press conference in the capital Ankara on Friday during which he strongly condemned the violence. “What excuse could possibly justify violence, the death of people and attacks on soldiers and police?,” Ala said according to international media reports.
Violence has seized Turkey’s southeast this week as Kurdish anger mounted over the fate of Kobani and what many Kurds see as Ankara’s reluctance to come to the aid of their ethnic kin. The recent bloodshed left 31 people dead, including two police officers.
A Saudi national was among those killed in the unrest as Riyadh warned its citizens to avoid travelling to the region.
Saudi Ambassador to Turkey Adel Murad informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Riyadh has called on the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate the death, and that the embassy will closely monitor the investigation in cooperation with the Turkish authorities.
Murad said that the Saudi national had been escorting his Syrian wife to the city of Mardin to visit her family when he—along with his brother-in-law—were attacked by a group of unknown assailants. The ambassador met with members of the family on Thursday.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Murad warned Saudi nationals to avoid travelling to southern Turkey, calling on Saudi nationals in the country to maintain ties with the consulate in Istanbul and contact it in case of emergency.
Turkish authorities announced that Syrian national Abdullah Mohamed Latif and Saudi national Fahd Ibrahim Al-Duwairaj had been killed by a group affiliated to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group.
The recent violence risks derailing a fragile peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurds, initiated by then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in March 2013. The PKK has waged a three-decade long insurgency against the Turkish state but recent talks have led to the negotiated withdrawal of Kurdish fighters into Iraq.