Children narrowly escape death in Molotov cocktail attack

Children narrowly escape death in Molotov cocktail attack

Mustafa Yakışmaz

April 25, 2011, Monday/ 17:12:00/ FETHİ ALTUN

Terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporters attacked a house in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa over the weekend with Molotov cocktails, nearly causing the deaths of four children who were sleeping during the attack.

The Molotov cocktails thrown by the group, which was marching in the neighborhood chanting slogans in favor of the PKK, struck the room where the Yakışmaz family’s four children were sleeping. The hair of their eldest daughter, whose bed was next to the window, was partially burned. The parents, who were sleeping in another room, rushed to the children’s room after hearing their screams. The parents were able to save their children from the fire at the last minute.

Tension has been high since last week in the Southeast. A wave of protests in the region was triggered by a Supreme Election Board (YSK) decision last week to disqualify some Kurdish deputy candidates for this year’s election. The region turned into a battlefield last week with hundreds of protestors staging violent protests in the country’s east, mainly in Van, Hakkari, Batman and Diyarbakır. They threw Molotov cocktails at banks and state buildings, and a young man was killed in the Bismil district of Diyarbakır.

Although the YSK reversed its decision on Thursday and approved the candidacy of some of the deputies, tensions were still high in some districts of predominantly Kurdish provinces over the weekend. Şanlıurfa’s Hayati Harrani neighborhood was one of them and the scene of the attack on the Yakışmaz household. The family lives in the basement of a building used for the government’s Social Support Project (SODES).

Around midnight on Saturday, a group of protestors threw three Molotov cocktails at the house of the Yakışmaz family, nearly costing the lives of the family’s four children. Father Mustafa Yakışmaz put out the fire with water and immediately took the children out of the home. Police have launched an investigation into the incident and detained two individuals with suspected links to the attack.

The father, who is reportedly a construction worker, slammed the pro-PKK group in remarks he made in Kurdish. “My children were sleeping here when they threw Molotov cocktails. When I went to their room, the flames reached the ceiling. The hair and faces of my children burned before I brought water. I contained the fire with water. How can they do such a thing to us? I am working in building construction all day for a single morsel of bread, and you are coming and burning my house, my children. Shame on you,” the father said.

Meanwhile, the tension was also high on Saturday in Diyarbakır during the funeral of a PKK member who was killed by security forces in the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş last week. A funeral was held for Kenan Topdemir, codenamed Cemal, in the Diyarbakır Şefik Efendi Mosque. After the funeral, which was also attended by independent deputy candidates supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Leyla Zana and Altan Tan, a pro-PKK group marched through Sento Street and threw Molotov cocktails at police. The police used tear gas to disperse the protestors, and some of the demonstrators were detained.

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