PKK uses dummies as booby traps in southeast Turkey
İdris Emen – SİLVAN
Photos: Sebati KarakurtThe Silvan district of Diyarbakır province in southeastern Turkey looked like a war zone due to deadly clashes which had raged for almost two days when daily Hürriyet reporters visited the area.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) youth wing, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), and Turkish security forces engaged in gunfights in every part of the district, particularly the Tekel neighborhood. On Aug. 20, life was returning to normal with locals waiting to buy bread in long lines in front of bakeries, right next to charred vehicles, burned down buildings and walls riddled with bullet holes.
The 34-hour curfew did not stop the clashes but did entrap most locals in their homes with whatever they had already bought to eat, hence the subsequent bread lines.
“During clashes, we had to get along with whatever we had at home. We were unable to feed our babies. Worst of all, we couldn’t bring our sick to hospital,” one local told Hürriyet.
The neighborhood’s pharmacy remained open during the initial clashes. “We did it because the hospital was closed due to the clashes. People need medicine. But when our pharmacy was also hit by bullets, we saw that our lives were in danger, so we closed it down,” the owner said.
Many shops in the district have been damaged or destroyed. One shop owner was shattered, saying: “When the curfew was lifted this morning, I came back to my shop. It was in flames. I called firefighters but it was too late when they arrived. Eyewitnesses said bullets hit my shop and started the fire. 400,000 Turkish liras worth of my fabric has burned. Who will compensate my loss?”
The militants retreated, leaving behind ditches which police started to fill with earth. One local complained a police bulldozer damaged his parked car when filling one ditch. Other police bulldozers were around, standing still with bullet holes riddling them.
The damage in Silvan was beyond material losses. There have been conflicting reports about the death toll.
In one corner, two legs wearing boots were seen with the rest of the body hidden under a pile of garbage.
Only on closer inspection could one understand it was a booby trap laid by the PKK, as a bomb in a nearby trash can was designed to detonate when security forces approached the “victim” lying on the ground.
“Look at these... They show what people experienced here,” one local said, pointing to the numerous shell casings littering Silvan’s streets.