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EU condemns days-long curfews in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kurds walk past a destroyed building in a street in the Silvan, Diyarbakır, after clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish militants ended in the embattled town, on November 14, 2015. (AFP)

A European human rights body has strongly condemned the Turkish government for its days-long curfews imposed across the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

In a single-page statement issued on Wednesday by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, Turkish government’s “frequent and widespread” use of curfews in the towns  of the southeastern region was described as disproportionate and unnecessary.

“Imposing open-ended, round-the-clock curfews in entire neighborhoods or towns until further notice represents a massive restriction of some of the most fundamental human rights of a huge population,” said Muiznieks.

On November 3, Ankara declared a curfew in three neighborhoods of Silvan, a town in Diyarbakır, in order to battle militants belonging to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and members of the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H). During the 12-day curfew, Turkish security forces backed up by tanks and combat helicopters launched a large-scale operation against the militants that led to the death of six civilians.

Muiznieks stated that he received “very distressing allegations of human rights violations during this last curfew.”

"I therefore urge the Turkish authorities to reconsider this practice and ensure that in the future anti-terror operations are more limited in scope and the disruption of public life is strictly proportionate to the aims pursued,” the statement further read.

Turkey has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the PKK across the mainly Kurdish southeastern and eastern regions of Turkey, and in northern Iraq, since a two-year ceasefire broke down in July.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruç, an ethnically Kurdish town located close to border with Syria, on July 20, killing over 30 people.

The Turkish security forces and the PKK have since been engaged in a series of tit-for-tat attacks.


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