In Turkey the official death toll from weekend rioting (23-24 December) in the southeastern township of Kahramanmaras was put at eighty persons as the Turkish Cabinet met on Monday (25 December) in an emergency session to discuss the violence.
LV Protestors marching through street in Turkish township in Kahramanmaras
LV PAN Assembled crowd in square raising hands in air for voting (2 shots)
LV Crowd in square
SV PAN Protestors marching into building (2 shots)
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Background: In Turkey the official death toll from weekend rioting (23-24 December) in the southeastern township of Kahramanmaras was put at eighty persons as the Turkish Cabinet met on Monday (25 December) in an emergency session to discuss the violence. Turkish Radio said the town was quiet and heavily guarded on Monday after one of worst civil disturbances in the country this year. Press reports said the disturbances, which began on Saturday (23 December), continued the following day as groups of armed right-wing protestors, trying to march on government buildings, clashed with troops.
SYNOPSIS: The trouble had begun on Friday (22 December) after the rightists had tried to stop a funeral ceremony for two left-wing teachers who had been shot dead in earlier incidents. The rioting spread over the weekend when large groups of rightists attacked two neighbourhoods with a large Shi'ite population. Turkey's Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said hundreds of houses and businesses owned by leftists and Shi'ite Moslems had been destroyed.
Political violence is nothing new in Turkey. These latest riots in Kahramanmaras have brought the number of people killed this year to well over six hundred.
The trouble is between two Moslem sects. The rightists, who are in majority regard the leftists as heretics. They have been feuding since the seventh century.
The hospital director of Kahramanmaras said most of the 150 people who were injured in the rioting had been shot with long range rifles. Troop reinforcements and medical teams were being rushed to the town 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the capital Ankara. Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit described the violence as "a dark page in Turkish history".