Turkey’s top court finds applications from Cizre curfew victims ‘inadmissible’

A woman reacts while walking among the rubble of damaged buildings following heavy fighting between government troops and Kurdish fighters in the Kurdish town of Cizre in southeastern Turkey, which lies near the border with Syria and Iraq, on March 2, 2016. Thousands in Turkey's Kurdish-majority town of Cizre started returning to their homes on March 2 after authorities partially lifted a curfew in place since December for a controversial military operation to root out separatist rebels. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has found inadmissible applications filed by people affected by accurfew in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey in which 137 were killed in counterterrorism operations in 2015-2016, Turkish Minute reported.

Details are not yet available of the top court’s rejection of the applications filed by relatives of the victims on the grounds that their right to life was violated.

Turkish authorities imposed curfews in southeastern towns and districts to flush out outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants from urban areas in Turkey’s Southeast starting in July 2015, when gross human rights violations took place, according to rights groups.

After Turkey’s local authorities lifted the curfew in February 2017, family members found several burned body parts in a basement and claimed that civilians were killed by Turkish military forces and burned to destroy the evidence.

In February 2018 a report by scientists from the Vaudois University Hospital Center (CHUV) in Switzerland showed that residents who took shelter in the basement of a building in a neighborhood of Turkey’s southeastern Cizre district in Şırnak during the curfews were killed by gunshots and then burned.

According to a report by Turkish human rights organization Mazlumder, more than 200 people were killed and over 10,000 houses were destroyed in Cizre alone during curfews that were imposed after July 2015.

During months-long curfews in Cizre’s Sur, Cudi and Nur neighborhoods, thousands of people, including women, children and the elderly, were trapped in their homes.

“Cizre witnessed unprecedented destruction following clashes which took place during a curfew lasting over 78 days, and unlike in curfews before, the curfew in Cizre saw mass killings,” Mazlumder said.

In February 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) also declined to consider a complaint regarding curfew incidents in Cizre on the grounds that domestic legal remedies had not yet been exhausted.

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