U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement on March 10 that Turkey had “contested the veracity of the very serious allegations.”
About 2,000 people were killed and entire neighborhoods razed in southeastern Turkey in 18 months of government security operations “characterized by massive destruction and serious human rights violations,” the United Nations’ human rights office said March 10.
The office said in a report on the period July 2015-December 2016 that up to 500,000 people had been displaced, while satellite imagery showed the “enormous scale of destruction of the housing stock by heavy weaponry.”
U.N. investigators documented human rights violations including killings, disappearances and torture, often during curfews lasting several days at a time.
U.N. human rights chief al-Hussein said in a statement that Turkey, which denied access for the investigators, had “contested the veracity” of the allegations.
“It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted,” Zeid said, adding an independent investigation was urgently needed.
Zeid’s spokesman Rupert Colville said it could be international or Turkish but must be independent and impartial.
The U.N. would continue investigating and might publish reports on Turkey every three months or so, he said, adding that security operations were continuing sporadically.
Almost 800 of those killed were members of the security forces, and some of the other 1,200 may have been involved in action against the state, the report said.
Although Zeid has been invited to Turkey, Colville said a U.N. investigative team needed to go first and it would be “absurd” to think Zeid’s visit could be a substitute.