HDP says gov’t has given security forces a blank check for civilian killings in SE Turkey

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu (L) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ziya Pir.

Amid news stories that a Turkish drone attack killed one civilian and wounded three others in Hakkari on Friday, pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ziya Pir said during a press conference on Monday that a statement by the interior minister is a blank check for more civilian killings by security forces in southeastern Turkey.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had said on Saturday that mistakes can be made in the fight against terrorists.

“We see a lot of terrorists. I mean, we see many terrorists with drones. We have never initiated an attack against someone who is not identified as a terrorist or a civilian together with a terrorist. But mistakes can be made,” Soylu said on Saturday concerning the drone attacks.

“What we understand from Süleyman Soylu’s statement is that the security forces can kill anyone during operations. No investigations will be launched in those cases. That is to say, Soylu has issued an blank check for civilian killings,” said HDP deputy Pir during a press conference broadcast on the HDP’s Twitter account on Monday.

According to local reports, four civilians were targeted by an armed Turkish drone near the village of Oğlu in Hakkari.

The governor of Hakkari claimed that the villagers were supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while a statement from the Interior Ministry said they were targeted while transporting livestock for the PKK.

HDP deputies have also said on Sunday night that fire from a military helicopter injured three villagers in southeastern Diyarbakır province’s Bağlan village before a curfew was declared, Gazete Karınca reported on Monday. According to the report, the brother of one of the wounded villagers said his brother and others were shot as they were going to the village by tractor.

“My brother Celal and Münir were going to the village on a tractor. They were shot somewhere close by the village. … My brother was shot in the head and the leg. Münir was shot in the leg. They were made to wait in the village for hours and were not allowed to be taken to a hospital. They were only taken to a hospital around 1 a.m. My brother’s condition was serious, Münir was only slightly wounded,” he said.

While HDP deputies Feleknas Uca, Ziya Pir, Sibel Yiğitalp and some party executives were not allowed to enter the village, villagers could not be communicated with after the incidents. There are also claims about villagers being tortured and their houses being raided.

A curfew was declared on Sunday night in the Bağlan, Dolunay, Yalaza and Çavundur villages of the Lice district. Before the curfew in Bağlan, a low flying military helicopter opened fire and seriously wounded two villagers, while one lightly wounded villager was taken to a hospital in the helicopter.

HDP Diyarbakır deputy Pir said in a tweet that Lice’s Bağlan village was fired on by soldiers, and Şırnak deputy Leyla Birlik said one villager was taken to the hospital but two were still being kept in the village.

An Özgürlükçü Demokrasi report said one of the wounded, Serin, was detained in the hospital after treatment and that no information was provided as to where he was taken.

According to a written statement by the HDP, the injured villagers are civilians.

The Turkish military started using armed drones against PKK guerrillas last year.

The Turkish Interior Ministry has also announced on Monday that a total of 43 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists have been neutralized across Turkey over the past week. According to the ministry statement, Turkish security forces killed 27 PKK members and detained six. 10 PKK members surrendered to security forces in the same period.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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