Bloody Attack at Cafe

Renato Gandia, Edmonton Sun, May 23, 2008

An attack by a large group of men armed with clubs, knives and rocks left Cuma Yuksel bleeding and the Ankara cafe in shambles yesterday. The men broke through the window of the eatery, at 15960 109 Ave., and began attacking patrons. Three people were taken to hospital. (Jason Franson/Sun Media)

A mob rampaged through a west-end cafe in a bloody attack yesterday that sent three men to hospital.

After the bloodshed, angry Kurds pointed the finger at their Turkish neighbours.

“This attack is a well-organized hate crime against Kurds by racist people,” said Metin Yesilcimer, who rushed to the scene as soon as he heard about the violence.

Two men in their 40s and one in his 50s were taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries after a group of 20 to 25 armed men stoned Ankara Cafe at 15960 109 Ave., and assaulted eight people with metal batons, knives and stones, said eyewitnesses.

“They are like Nazis. They are Turkish Nazis,” said Yesilcimer, who said he was speaking on behalf of the victims.

STORMED THE CAFE

Just before 4 p.m., about eight construction workers were playing cards, drinking coffee and watching television when the attackers suddenly stormed the cafe.

“Somebody could have been killed here today,” Yesilcimer said.

Cuma Yuksel, 40, sustained a bloody cut above his left eye, Halil Ekinci, 50, had a swollen arm, and Riza Med, 42, had a bruised nose after they were beaten with wood and metal sticks.

The attackers fled before cops got to the scene.

The owners were left to clean up smashed glass, droplets of blood and broken chairs and tables.

Thirty minutes earlier, an unknown man surveyed the cafe, said Yesilcimer.

“He came, looked around and I was kinda feeling something bad was going to happen.”

He left the cafe and 30 minutes later, he got a call about the vicious assault.

Jalal Mardin, 31, said he was not surprised by the violence because of the history between Turks and Kurds. That’s why he left Turkey six years ago and came to Canada as a refugee.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has fought for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast since 1984.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people since then.

About 30 outraged Kurdish men met at the cafe last night to discuss their next move.

NO RETALIATION

Yesilcimer said they are not planning to retaliate.

“Nobody can guarantee that, but some individuals would be too angry they might retaliate.

“We want to be as peaceful as possible.”

Mardin said most of the men at last night’s meeting were refugees who wanted a new life in Canada.

“Most of these people have lost their relatives back home. They know what war is. They suffered from our country and they don’t want to see this kind of conflict again in Canada.”

Damarys Chavez, the 31-year-old wife of the cafe owner, said she now fears for the safety of her 2 1/2-year-old daughter who sometimes stays at the restaurant.

Police were investigating, but no arrests had been reported by the time of publication.

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