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Turkish flag vendors enjoy brisk business amid protests against PKK
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09:48, October 25, 2007

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As Turks nationwide continue rushing to the streets on Wednesday to protest the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK)'s weekend attacks against the Turkisharmy, carrying and waving national flags of various sizes, flag vendors enjoy good business.

Along the streets of the Turkish capital, besides groceries and shops, vendors selling the red Turkish flags studded with a white moon and star can be seen almost everywhere.

Mustafa, a vendor in his 40s, was kept busy when Xinhua reporter passed by, as a group of high school students were marching over his stall and buying flags from him.

"Yes, it (business) is good," was his simple answer when he was asked about his business, as he was still busy counting the money while unfolding more flags and hanging them on a string tied between two trees as the old ones are sold.

The school of boys and girls in uniforms marched by, red Turkish flags in hand, shouting slogans like "Damn the PKK!" and "All for the country!"

The anger against the PKK and demands for the government's prompt actions are rising high after PKK's Sunday attack in Daglica village in the southeastern province of Hakkari, in which 12 Turkish troops were killed and 16 others wounded.

From the biggest city of Istanbul to the southeastern province of Hakkari, tens of thousands of people took to the streets for the fourth day since Sunday's attack, as was shown by local TV.

The processions looked like a flowing red river because of the Turkish flags carried by the protestors.

Two girls, Belily and Lale, from Anatolia high school in Ankaratold Xinhua that they hated the PKK, saying that it is an evil force and they support the government to take immediate actions to crack down on them though they call themselves the dissidents of the government.

Private Osman, who is now in charge of guarding the Anit Kabir Mausoleum, the resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founding father of the Turkish republic, said that he is anxiously waiting for his term here to end, which has 20 more days to go, so that he could sign up to go to the front and fight the PKK.

"It is a honor to guard our country and people and I am not afraid of death, " said the young soldier, a native from the central-western province of Eskisehir.

The Turkish government is facing mounting domestic pressure for actions against the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU, which launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking decades of strife that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

According to the semi-official Anatolia news agency, while the Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdish rebels 30 km into the Iraqi territory on Tuesday night and the Turkish forces were being built up on the border, Ankara was still holding back from any major strike for now, saying it was still hoping for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.


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