As part of a larger war policy, round-the-clock curfews are still going on in Kurdish provinces despite their illegality. As of now, hundreds of civilians have lost their lives during the months-long curfews in the city center of Şırnak and 22 other districts. While armed clashes stopped in all these districts, the curfews are still in effect full day in some districts, while at night in some others.
While government authorities announced the end of armed clashes in Şırnak, Nusaybin and Sur, the demolition is still going on. These districts are being demolished with bulldozers and earthmovers. Most of the citizens who want to return to their homes cannot do so. Those who can cannot even recognize their houses and neighborhoods, as the majority of houses and streets are unrecognizable because of destruction. The places of some streets and houses are even deleted on the neighborhood maps.
Those houses and shops that stayed intact during the clashes are now being demolished and burned. State authorities declare such areas to be high-risk, which are further expanded by means of expropriation, paving the way for razing to the ground the districts in their entirety.
After the termination of “operations” in Yuksekova, the round-the-clock curfew has still continued; the town has been destroyed in this process. The destruction during the months-long sieges in Şırnak, Nusaybin and Sur has turned into “a massacre of towns.” Around 2000 citizens struggle for survival in tents built on the foot of Mount Cudi due to the ongoing three-month-long siege in Şırnak.
Moreover, the people and institutions offering help and relief to those who could return to these towns face many difficulties created by state officials, who are obstructing the delivery of food or other items of humanitarian aid sent to these towns by various solidarity networks. For example, in Yuksekova, the district governor removed the tents that were built to distribute food for fast breaking during Ramadan. The people whose houses were destroyed are even banned from putting up a tent in their backyard.
The Erdoğan-AKP rule is directly responsible for all this destruction and suffering. The crimes against humanity committed by them are piling up every passing day. The main reason behind the government’s refusal to lift round-the-clock curfews is its aim to completely destroy these civilian settlements.
The ongoing round-the-clock curfews, blockades and destruction in Kurdish cities and towns should be immediately stopped. And all the obstacles that prevent residents from safely returning to their homes should be removed.
Figen Yüksekdağ & Selahattin Demirtaş
14 June 2016