Feb. 15 - Turkish Kurds and police clash at protests marking the anniversary of the arrest of their leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Nathan Frandino reports.
Kurdish protesters clash with police, exchanging fireworks and water cannons on the streets of Turkey. The protest marks the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan was the leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, which has long fought for independent governance. Meanwhile, thousands of Kurds protested in Strasbourg, France, demanding Ocalan's release. (SOUNDBITE) (French) MEMBER OF THE FEDERATION OF TURKISH ASSOCIATIONS IN FRANCE, MURAT POLAT, SAYING: "I think Turkey has understood that Abdullah Ocalan should be the preferred mediator but now it's to the international community to understand it and to apply the necessary pressure so that Abdullah Ocalan is freed because he is for us the natural president for Kurds, a natural representative as Nelson Mandela has been in South Africa." Carrying flags and banners bearing Ocalan's image, the protesters marked the anniversary by airing their grievances. (SOUNDBITE) (French) DEMONSTRATOR FATIMA SAYING: "We would like to be able to be proud of being Kurdish, to walk with our head high and not being judged because we are Kurdish. Also we'd like to have a Kurdish identity card and not Turkish." Talks began in 2012 between the Turkish government and Ocalan, but have deteriorated due to frustration with the government's pace in introducing reforms for the Kurds.