Leftist groups protest Hopa incident across Turkey, dozens injured, arrested


In downtown Ankara, protesters clashed with police, throwing stones and sticks as they attempted to march toward the AK Party Ankara provincial branch office.
Dozens have been injured and arrested as leftist and communist groups staged protests across Turkey, including in major cities such as İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

The most violent protests were in downtown Ankara, where protesters clashed with police, throwing stones and sticks as they attempted to march toward the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Ankara provincial branch office.

One person died of a heart attack during an opposition protest that turned violent in Hopa, Artvin province, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was holding a rally. Three other people, including two police officers, were injured. Hopa is known to be a stronghold of leftist groups, particularly the Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖDP).

Ankara riot police held their ground against protesters who threw sticks and stones at them. They, however, used water cannons and tear gas against protesters who tried to advance. Nearly 60 protesters were detained, while 15 police officers were wounded to varying degrees. Two police officers suffered broken arms, while five police cars were damaged.

The close to 800 protesters comprised members of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), the ÖDP, the leftist-group Student Collectives and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK).

A group of ÖDP members and other leftist groups also marched in the Black Sea province of Giresun late on Tuesday toward the AK Party’s provincial branch office, protesting the death of the protester in Hopa. Short-lived tensions flared as riot police tried to stop the group from advancing to the AK Party building. The tensions calmed down as police allowed the group to read out its press statement in front of the building.

In İstanbul, nearly a thousand leftist and communist groups staged violent protests in Galatasaray and Taksim Square. While tearing down AK Party banners in the area, the protesters also attacked the police with sticks and stones while chanting slogans such as “AK Party police killed the protester” and “Hopa is the center of [leftist] resistance.”

Members of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) youth wing also participated in the protests, accusing the AK Party of being responsible for the death of the protester.

Police used water cannons to disperse the crowds and two people were detained.

A group of people, all members of leftist groups, also marched towards the AK Party provincial office in the Aegean province of İzmir late on Tuesday. They shouted slogans accusing the police of killing the protester in Hopa with tear gas.

Riot police established a security cordon around the AK Party’s building, following which the group threw eggs at the police. After police warnings, the demonstrators dispersed without incident.

The Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into the Hopa incident, appointing two civilians, two gendarmes and police inspectors to head it.

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