Turkish military said that they had killed 134 PKK members since December
On Wednesday, Turkish Dogan news agency reported that, in the ancient Sur district of Diyarbakir Heavy gunfire continued amid clashes between authorities and militants said to be members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) -banned by Ankara.
According to that report hundreds of people fled the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, located in southeastern Turkey since the curfew were extended 24 hours there after 23 people including three Turkish soldiers and 20 Kurdish fighters were killed in street battles.
A western news agency said that, three Turkish soldiers were killed in Sur when militants fired on them with rifles and a rocket launcher.
On Tuesday, January 27, Turkey’s army also killed 11 alleged PKK in the town of Cizre near the Syrian border, and nine others in Sur. 134 Kurdish fighters were killed by the Turkish army in the ancient Sur district since December.
The district governor’s office said that the 24-hour curfew zone was extended to five more districts in Diyarbakir. Report said, the curfew captivated the residents in their homes and forbided observers and reporters from entering the clash zone.
After alleged members of PKK reportedly dug trenches and set up explosive devices, the curfew was put in place “restore public order,” the district governor’s office said.
According to local media, more than 2,000 people were seen fleeing with suitcases, bags, and bedding on Wednesday.
“This armed conflict continues to create new tragedies and these people don’t know what to do. While these operations continue, gross human rights violations are committed by Turkey’s security forces,” a local journalist said.
After collapsing the peace process between Turkish authorities and PKK in the summer of 2015, Erdogan had introduced curfews in several Kurdish-majority towns. Since then, clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish PKK fighters have been ongoing while Turkey’s authorities maintain to claim that only PKK members were killed in those operations. Though, the Turkish Human Rights Foundation reported that at least 198 civilians, including 39 children have been killed so far in military operations in the area since August.
In December 2015, a congress of Kurdish nongovernmental organizations called for Turkey’s southeastern regions to be granted autonomy via constitutional reforms since Kurds have long been campaigning for the right to self-determination and greater autonomy in Turkey, where they are the largest ethnic minority.
However, on December 14, Turkish army launched a large-scale military operation in southeastern part of the country.
Europe based Rights group, the Human Rights Watch has criticized the curfews by stating that curfews make “extremely difficult” to monitor causes of deaths.
“Many people have died in circumstances which are extremely difficult to scrutinize because of the curfews,” Emma Sinclair-Webb, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch said to a western news agency.