Turkish authorities in Diyarbakır announced late Wednesday that a round-the-clock curfew would be imposed indefinitely in 17 villages and 53 hamlets of the Lice and Kulp districts in the north of the Kurdish province as part of efforts to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Hours earlier, a Turkish soldier was killed and four others wounded in what provincial officials said was “close combat” with PKK militants in the Lice countryside. The operation was then extended in scope, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said, as similar military activity went on in other Kurdish-populated provinces such as Tunceli (Dersim), Şırnak, Hakkari and Ağrı, according to daily statements by the relevant authorities.
Northern Diyarbakır, with its mountainous and woodland terrain, serves as one of the main bastions inside Turkey for the PKK, who demand self-rule and greater rights for Kurds. On hundreds of occasions, Turkey has enforced, at times for months, round-the-clock curfews in scores of Kurdish cities during decades of conflict with the PKK.
With the mid-2015 collapse of peace talks between the two sides, more curfews than any other time in modern Turkish state’s history were announced, which at times led to civilian killings.
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) stated on Nov. 1, 2017 that at least 268 officially confirmed round-the-clock and/or open-ended curfews were declared in 47 districts in 11 provinces populated mainly by Kurds between August 16, 2015 and November 1, 2017. and that the fundamental rights of over 1,809,000 people were violated. The cities in which curfews were implemented include Diyarbakır (145 times), Mardin (45 times), Hakkari (23 times), Şırnak (13 times), Bitlis (13 times), Muş (7 times), Bingöl (7 times), Tunceli (6 times), Batman (5 times), Elazığ (2 times) and Siirt (2 times).