A Preliminary Report: Civilians Who Have Lost Their Lives In The Blockades In Turkey

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The recent curfews imposed in eastern Turkey have no legal and constitutional basis. These curfews have been imposed through the unrestricted use of the administrative authority of provincial and district governors, who are appointed, not elected, officials. These curfews whose claimed aims are public order and security have led to the terrorisation of the public, to the killing of civilians by the security forces, to the destruction of cultural heritage sites, and to the ruining of the cities. 
The curfews, actually blockades, the first of which was imposed on 16th of August in Varto, are still retained in the three districts of Cizre, Silopi, and Sur. Since then dozens of neighborhoods in twenty districts of seven cities have been under curfew. This has involved 56 separate declarations of curfews totalling 253 days. Many of these blockades have continued in practice even after official declaration of the end of the curfew. During the most recent blockades in five districts, 56 people have lost their lives:

In Cizre, five curfews have been declared, the latest beginning on 14 December 2015. During the 17 days of this last blockade, 23 people lost their lives. A total of 56 people have been killed in total since July 2015.

In Silopi, three curfews have been declared, the latest beginning on 14 December 2015. During the 17 days of this last blockade, 15 people lost their lives. A total of 29 people have been killed since July 2015.

In Sur, six curfews have been declared, the latest beginning on 2 December 2015. During the 28 days of this last blockade, 12 people lost their lives. A total of 17 people have been killed since July 2015.

In Nusaybin, seven curfews have been declared, the latest having been lifted on 24 December 2015. During the 11 days of this last blockade, 3 people lost their lives. A total of 23 people have been killed since July 2015.

In Dargeçit, two curfews have been declared, the latest having been lifted on 29 December 2015. During the 19 days of this last blockade, 3 people lost their lives. A total of 5 people have been killed since July 2015. 

Apart from these five districts, a total of 131 people have been killed during the curfews declared in 15 different districts. Hundreds more have been injured and disabled. 61 children and 36 women were among the dead. In additions to the dead in the blockades, 141 people lost their lives in the bomb attacks in Ankara and Suruç, and in the aerial bombing of Zergele.

Taybet İnan, a 57 year old woman whose body was forcibly left on the street for 7 days, has been described as “terrorist.” Miray İnce, a 3 month old baby, has been killed by snipers. Both of these horrors have been seared into the memory of the Kurdish people.

Hundreds of homes and work places have been burnt and destroyed by the security forces, and other state forces such as Esedullah Team. The same forces have terrorised people by painting racist and sexist slogans on the walls in neighbourhoods and on the blackboards in the schools.

The cultural and historical heritage of the Kurdish region is in danger of destruction. Diyarbakır Castle, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is under the threat of serious damage. Religious and historical sites like Kurşunlu Mosque in Sur and Seyyidhan Mosque in Cizre have been ruined.

Schools, hospitals and municipal buildings in Silopi and Cizre have been turned into military headquarters. People have been spending most of their time sheltering in basements because of the tanks on the streets and artillery fire in the neighbourhoods. People are suffering from lack of water, food and electricity. People are being deprived of their basic human rights because pharmacies and bakeries are closed. Access to health services is prevented by the blockade. The population of some neighbourhoods have been forced to flee, and the level of destruction in these neighbourhoods is so extensive that it is impossible to talk about people being able to return.

The truth about these events is not being reported in the media. What news that does appear is distorted to fit the governments propaganda. Conditions under which independent and objective observers and institutions can report are not being ensured.

We are publishing this interim balance sheet on the last day of 2015 in response to the enthusiastic supporters of the political lynch campaign against the HDP being encouraged by the President and the government.

It is no surprise that a block whose aim is to darken the future of Turkey and the Middle East for decades should be taking aim at the HDP, which is raising its voice and pursuing a struggle for democracy against them.

We hope that the peoples of Turkey and international public opinion will begin to react against the damage to democracy and human rights being done by the war policy being waged by the unaccountable President and the AK Party government, the effects of which will not be erased for many years. 

Ayhan Bilgen

HDP Spokesperson and Member of Parliament for Kars

30 December 2015

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