Supporters of the Kurdish struggle took to the streets Thursday in Ecuador’s capital Quito to protest Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Ecuador on an official two-day visit.
The protesters gathered in opposition to Ankara's military operation in the Kurdish southeast areas of Turkey against the militant PKK group. Hundreds of civilians have been killed since August.
Protesters were heard chanting slogans such as ”Long live Kurdistan,” “Murderer Erdogan" and “Out with Erdogan” as the Turkish leader entered the IAEN University in Quito.
Giran Ozcan, the Latin American representative of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), was at the protest and told teleSUR that Ecuadorean lawmaker Diego Vintimilla, who was with the protesters, was injured in a confrontation with one of Erdogan’s security guards.
“Erdogan’s security guard attacked a protester, broke his nose and he is going to hospital now,” Ozcan said following the incident.
"Erdogan’s guard broke the nose of Ecuadorean lawmaker Diego Vintimilla."
"People of Ecuador realise that a murderer is visiting their country today,” Ozcan said as he joined the protest against Erdogan. “Through President Erdogan's support for ISIS (Islamic State group) he is responsible for the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria.”
Ozcan added that Erdogan is responsible for the killing of hundreds of civilians in Kurdish towns such as Cizre and Sur as part of his push for consolidating power in Turkey.
According to the Turkish Human Rights Commision, at least 167 civilians have been killed in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeast since August last year.
Erdogan met with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in the capital in order to finalize economic deals between the two nations, which Erdogan described as “strategic” and the beginning of a golden era between Turkey and Ecuador.
Despite being far from Turkey, Ozcan said the protest was an important action where “the people of Ecuador are showing solidarity with the Kurdish people and people of the Middle East against aspiring dictators such as Erdogan and evil organisations that he supports such as ISIS!"
Turkey and Ecuador currently have trade agreements that amount to almost US$200 million. Erdogan said the two countries aim to increase trade to “US$500 or even to US$1 billion,” without specifying deadlines.
The finance minister of Ecuador will visit Turkey later this month, Erdogan told reporters after the meeting in order to conclude the free trade agreement.
Meanwhile, President Correa said bilateral relations were strengthened between Ecuador and Turkey in diplomatic, commercial, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
“We have given an important boost to the trade agreement for development. We hope to have it ready for this year.”
With the Ecuador visit Erdogan ended his three-country tour in Latin America after visiting Chile and Peru and finalizing similar economic deals with the governments there.
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