Ankara: Thousands of mourners on Thursday buried a 12-year-old Kurdish boy who activists say was killed by Turkish security forces, a claim vehemently denied by the government.
Witnesses told AFP that Nihat Kazanhan, 12, was shot while police were patrolling the largely Kurdish Cizre district of Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, where tensions between locals and security forces are high.
It was the latest in a series of deaths undermining the fragile peace process between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Workers` Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody 30-year insurgency for Kurdish self-rule.
Activists and pro-Kurdish media claimed that police had fired tear gas and plastic bullets, although there were no protests in progress when the boy was shot.
Angry mourners shouted slogans and flashed victory signs during the funeral of the boy, who died in hospital of gunshot wounds to the head, an AFP photographer reported.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday insisted Turkish security forces had fired neither bullets nor tear gas, and said an investigation had been opened.
Sirnak police department also said in a statement that the security forces were "by no means" involved in the boy`s death, and that there were no clashes at the time of the shooting.
The boy was shot as lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democratic Party (HDP) visited Cizre in a bid to ease tensions in the town, which has seen deadly clashes between PKK supporters and Turkish security forces in recent weeks.
Kazanhan was the seventh person -- including another teenager -- to be killed in Cizre in three weeks, security sources told AFP.
In October, dozens were killed when Kurds took to the streets in several cities across Turkey to vent their anger at the government`s Syria policy.
The violence has complicated efforts to make peace with the PKK, whose rebellion has left an estimated 40,000 dead.