Turkish govenment imposes curfew on 176 Kurdish villages, hamlets

Turkish authorities in Diyarbakır has declared an indefinite round-the-clock curfew in 176 villages and hamlets on Wednesday to conduct a wide-ranging military operation against the militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who are allegedly active in the region.

A press release on the website of the Diyarbakır governor’s office read that the operation was aimed at “neutralizing high-ranking members and collaborators of the divisive terrorist organization.” Turkish authorities refrain from calling the PKK that has been waging three-decades-long armed campaign against Turkish security forces over Kurdish demands for self-rule by its name.

According to the written statement 71 villages and 105 hamlets were declared as military zones and civilians are banned from entering the areas in Diyarbakır province. Villages under the curfew were in the northern Silvan, Kulp, Hazro, and Lice districts where forests and mountainous terrain provide sanctuary for PKK militants.

Since the revival of the PKK-Turkish state conflict in the aftermath of the mid-2015 collapse of peace talks between the two sides, authorities have on hundreds of occasions enforced, at times for months, round-the-clock curfews in the dozens of provinces populated with the Kurdish people.

A phase of year-long urban warfare from August 2015 onward saw the killing of hundreds of civilians and the destruction of whole neighborhoods in several population centers such as Şırnak, Cizre, Silopi, Yüksekova, Nusaybin, Sur, and İdil.

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) stated on November 1, 2018 that at least 268 curfews were declared in at least 47 districts in 11 provinces across Turkey where are populated mostly by the Kurds between August 16, 2015 and November 1, 2017 and the fundamental rights of over 1 million 809 thousand people were violated.

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