Dozens of members of the Turkish and Kurdish communities in a French commune violently clashed with each other following the election win of Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to police, Turks and Kurds fought each other with iron bars, swords, and sticks during the mass brawl which occurred Sunday night in Mantes-la-Jolie just outside of Paris, Le Parisien reports.
The incident marks the first major violence between Kurds and Turks in the commune and it was said to have begun after Turkish Erdoğan supporters had flown the Turkish flag in front of Kurdish cafes. The Turks were then attacked by Kurdish locals who also are said to have attacked two Turkish cafes in retaliation.
Around 1,000 Turkish and 400 Kurdish families live in the area. “We talk so little about politics. But among the old or those who are not born here, it is sometimes tense but never violent,” a local Turkish man said.
Turks Across Europe Celebrate Reelection of Islamist Turkish President Erdogan https://t.co/Itewzu6a2Z
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While clashes between Turks and Kurds are uncommon in much of France, several such violent incidents have occurred in neighbouring Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Germany has seen several violent clashes with the most recent occurring in April when over 50 Turks, Kurds, and some Lebanese fought one another with weapons, including machetes and iron bars, on the streets of Duisburg.
In September 2015, the two groups clashed in Frankfurt and in April 2016 fights once again broke out during a Turkish nationalist march in Duisburg, including brawlers from the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves group.
Austria, which also has a significant population of Turks, saw clashes in the heart of Vienna in August 2016 when Kurdish protestors were said to have been goaded by Turks into fighting. Both groups used pepper spray on each other, forcing tourists to flee the area in panic.