HDP calls on PKK ‘to act on people’s wish’
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has called on senior figures from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to consider his call for a cease-fire and a restart of peace talks, speaking to reporters on Sept. 13 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s central Sur district, where a curfew had been imposed.
Demirtaş said the call for a cease-fire is also demand of almost all segments of society in Turkey.
“We expect this call to be evaluated very seriously. We do not make these calls in vain. Everyone has to take our calls as the people’s common opinion and take them seriously. We expect both Ankara and Kandil [the mountains in northern Iraq where the PKK’s senior leaders are based] to show a stance that will meet peoples’ demand on this issue,” he added.
The HDP co-chair said the peace talks have to start again.
“Let’s repair the peace table. Those responsible for the peace talks can then sit and start talking [peace] ... We will talk and we will not allow clashes. The talks may take a year, but we should not allow the death of even one person in the meantime,” said Demirtaş.
His remarks came as the stark post-curfew situation in the Cizre district of southeastern Turkey’s Şırnak province was slowly coming to light.
Residents of Cizre, where a nine-day curfew ended at 7:00 a.m. on Sept. 12, remained deprived of health and funeral services and access to food for days, according to witnesses and fresh photographs.
People flocked to stores that opened early in the morning, while a number of pharmacies were also opened.
The bodies of people killed during clashes in Cizre were seen in their homes, while those injured were trying to treat themselves as no ambulances were working.
Power and water were cut while phone and Internet connections were poor. After the lifting of the curfew, people began visiting the families of the victims to extend condolences.
“My father deteriorated yesterday [Sept. 11], but we could not call the ambulance as the telephone was not working. We could not take him [to the hospital] because of the clashes, although we have a car,” said Şahin Açık, the son of Mehmet Emin Açık who died of heart attack on Sept. 12.
Fellow Cizre local Bahattin Yeşil said their house was targeted as his family was eating.
“One bullet remains under my chest and another in my leg. My son was also shot in the leg, and a bullet injured my daughter-in-law. We had to stop our own bleeding. We still cannot reach the ambulance,” Yeşil added.
People were being allowed to move in and out of the city despite continued army checks at roadblocks.
The government had said the curfew was necessary for a military “anti-terror” operation in the city against suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
But the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said civilians were killed during the curfew, which deprived residents of access to essential amenities and triggered food shortages.
Interior Minister Selami Altınok has stated that 30 to 32 terrorists were killed in clashes.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, on Sept. 11 expressed alarm over the “very distressing information” from Cizre, urging that independent observers be allowed into the city.