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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turks Celebrate Controversial Verdict




ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turks on Wednesday celebrated the death sentence against Abdullah Ocalan, but many analysts began to question whether hanging the rebel leader would be in the country's best interest.


Ocalan's rebels have threatened to increase attacks if their leader is sent to the gallows and European countries are warning that an execution would seriously hamper Turkey's already troubled bid to become a full member of the European Union.


"What is the use of saying blood for blood?" asked columnist Perihan Magden in the Radikal newspaper. "The important thing is not to go after cheap revenge ? not to lose more lives."


Soldiers killed 12 Kurdish guerrillas Tuesday, the day of the sentencing, in a clash on the slopes of Mt. Havillati in southeastern Hakkari province, the Anatolia news agency reported. It gave no other details.


Rebels of Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK launched a pair of rockets overnight at police housing and the city hall in the southeastern town of Idil, the regional governor's office said. The rockets exploded in midair and there were no reports of injuries or damage.


Suspected supporters firebombed Turkish businesses and establishments across Germany early Wednesday. Damage was minor in most of the attacks, although one person was lightly injured in Stuttgart.


Seeking to calm tensions, the head of the Turkish community in Germany urged Turkey to promote reconciliation and not carry out the death sentence against Ocalan.


There is widespread pressure in Turkey to hang Ocalan.


The Sabah newspaper printed a picture of a hangman's noose on its front page. "Today is our festivity," the newspaper said below a picture of relatives of Turkish war dead dancing in the street.


"I want that man who slaughtered numerous people hanged immediately," taxi driver Huseyin Tutun said.


In Diyarbakir, the largest city in the overwhelmingly Kurdish southeast, some 200 young men, apparently Turkish soldiers in civilian clothes, marched through the streets chanting "Imrali will be Ocalan's grave." Residents silently watched the flag-waving demonstrators.


Imrali is the prison island where Ocalan faced trial.