Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action, calling attention to rights abuses in Turkey as security forces launch military operations against the armed Revolutionary Patriotic Youth Movement (YDG-H) the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The clashes have so far cost scores of lives. Some 200,000 people live in the affected areas and “and some are unable to access food, medical care and face severe electricity and water shortages.”
In Cizre and Silopi, which have been under curfew since 14 December, local lawyers and activists told Amnesty that there had been more than 40 deaths in Cizre and 25 in Silopi. Among those killed were women, children, and the elderly, many “due to alleged sniper fire from security forces.” A local lawyer in Silopi reported that “the body of 56-year-old Taybet İnan, who was shot by a sniper, was left in the street for seven days as the family was unable to retrieve it.”
In the Sur district of Diyarbakir, which has been under curfew since 11 December, “lawyers reported at least 13 killed.” Reports suggest that around “half of the district’s population have left for neighbouring areas, currently not under curfew.” Amnesty notes that “protests and vigils taking place daily outside the curfew areas are routinely dispersed by police using tear gas and water cannons, and protestors are detained.”
According to Amnesty:
In all areas under curfew many residents are facing severe electricity and water shortages and they cannot leave their homes to access basic food supplies. Residents requiring medical care have also been unable to safely leave their neighbourhoods to access such care. Ambulances in some cases have been unable to enter areas under curfew due to the security situation or because they were denied access by the security services.
Amnesty has called on its world-wide membership to take action and write to authorities:
– Calling on the Turkish authorities to refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on freedom of movement and to ensure residents of Cizre, Silopi and Sur district in Diyarbakır have sufficient time each day to leave their homes or are provided with other safe means to access to all necessary supplies, medical care, water and electricity, and are able to leave affected areas if they so wish;
– Urging them not to use firearms except in the event of imminent threat of death or serious injury and to ensure prompt, independent and impartial investigations into deaths and injuries that have occurred in curfew areas;
– Calling on them to ensure the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is fully respected for citizens wishing to show their solidarity with those living under curfew.