100,000 people displaced due to clashes with PKK
Fevzi Kızılkoyunlu - ANKARA
A police report on the effects of the recent clashes in southeastern Turkey has revealed that some 100,000 people have been displaced in five towns in the region, with 1.3 million people being affected by the repeated curfews.
The report by the intelligence and anti-terror departments of the police showed that security forces have wrested control of eight of 13 districts at high risk where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been attempting to establish autonomous areas.
A report to the Interior Ministry said people were migrating to avoid being caught in the crossfire and experience the negative effects of the round-the-clock curfews. The number even goes higher when temporary displacements during the curfew periods are also included.
A central police warning sent to units in all 81 provinces across Turkey said the PKK was aiming to bring clashes to big cities.
“In line with orders from the mountain cadre, the terror organization, which is trapped in the region where it is located, wants to spread the clashes to wider regions, gain psychological power by hampering operations, as suicide teams and death guards have started to prepare for actions,” the warning said, adding that the PKK may be preparing for actions in city centers, particularly big cities.
Operations are continuing to “clean” the Cizre, Silopi, Sur, Dargeçit and Nusaybin districts of the PKK, the police report said.
Cizre and Silopi in Şırnak, Sur in Diyarbakır and Dargeçit and Nusaybin in Mardin are the districts where 100,000 people have left to escape clashes.
The curfews, which have accompanied the police and military operations in the region, have spread to 17 districts in seven provinces in the region since July 22. Some 1.3 million people reside in these areas, the report said.
It also said the PKK was putting pressure on locals in its bid to found “liberated zones” in eastern and southeastern Turkey.
Diyarbakır tops the restrictions with 35 curfews declared in eight provinces in total.
Nine districts in the provinces of Mardin, Şırnak, Hakkari, Yüksekova, Muş, Batman and Elazığ have experienced curfews.
The PKK has sent armed militants to the districts of Yüksekova, Cizre, Silopi, Çukurca, Nusaybin, Şemdinli, Sur, Dargeçit, Lice, Eruh, Varto, Bulanık and Kulp, where it attaches importance, to accompany its youth branch, the YDG-H.
Some cells were set up in these districts and armaments have been stockpiled, it said.
The residential areas were intense clashes are occurring have witnessed great damage but a total account is not available due to continuing operations and clashes, it added.
Some 7,000 people have applied to governors’ offices in the region for compensation for their losses, the state claims.
Many houses and workplaces where the PKK dug ditches and placed explosives cannot be used, it added.
Five small prisons in Diyarbakır were closed as 102 inmates were transferred to those in central Diyarbakır.