Turkish gov’t declares curfew in Diyarbakır villages, bans festival in Tunceli

The governor’s office of Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır has declared a curfew in eight villages and adjoining arable land due to security operations against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

The curfew in the Kulp countryside, which started at 11 a.m. on July 25 until further notice, aimed at “providing safety of life and property of the people and protecting the civilians from any harm,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

The operation is being conducted to “neutralize” PKK militants in the area, believed to include high-ranking individuals, and to demolish the shelters, depots and anti-aircraft positions used by the militants, it added.

The area under curfew includes the village of Yaylak and arable land in Şeyhsalih, Nedrehuş, Mezrasor, Simetok, Dalideri, Akçana and Derik.

Another curfew has been declared in two villages in the rural areas of Mardin’s Nusaybin district, again on the grounds of “military operations.” Reports have been coming through that an air force-supported operation has been launched in the curfew zone with the participation of a large number of soldiers and village guards.

Meanwhile, the Tunceli Governor’s Office has announced that it is “banning” the 18th Munzur Culture and Nature Festival, which was expected to begin on Thursday. The application made to the governor’s office for the festival planned by the Federation of Dersim Associations (DEDEF) to take place July 26-29 was rejected, according to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF).

The Tunceli Governor’s Office announced that the festival has been banned as it was organised with the purpose of “recruiting elements and securing finances for the terrorist organisation.”

Ali Haydar Ben, the chair of Festival Organising Committee, reacted strongly to the banning of the festival and announced that they would make a press statement at Seyit Rıza Square at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Ben said they can ban the festival but not its spirit and its visit to centers of faith.

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