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12 injured as Turks, Kurds scuffle outside Ankara mission in Japan

Riot police officers stand guard in front of the Turkish embassy in Tokyo on October 25, 2015, following a scuffle between Turks and Kurds. ©AFP

At least 12 people have been wounded in clashes that erupted among Turkish nationals outside Ankara’s embassy in Japan, where they were standing in line to vote in snap parliamentary elections.

Footage of the incident showed police interrupting the scuffles between Turks and Kurds in front of the diplomatic mission in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo on Sunday.

Two police officers were among those injured in the confrontations, Tokyo Broadcasting System Television reported, adding that the cause of Sunday’s clashes was unclear.

“I was attacked by Turks all of a sudden while I was in a car with my friends,” said a Kurdish man, whose shirt had been torn off.

Quoting a Turkish voter, Japan’s Jiji Press also said that the scuffles broke out after Kurds tried to display the flag of a pro-Kurdish party.

Some 3,600 Turkish citizens are reportedly residing in Japan.

Turkish voters gather in front of the Turkish embassy in Tokyo while Japanese riot policemen stand guard on October 25, 2015, following a scuffle between Turks and Kurds. ©AFP

The snap parliamentary elections in Turkey are scheduled to be held on November 1, but the overseas voting began on October 8 in different countries.

All overseas ballot papers will be counted alongside domestic votes after polls close across Turkey in the evening of November 1.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won three general elections in 2002, 2007 and 2011. However, the AKP was stripped of its overall majority in the June 7 elections and failed in coalition talks with main opposition factions.

The snap polls come amid the Turkish army’s military campaign against members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which voided a shaky 2013 ceasefire between the two sides.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.

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