Turkish PM vows to continue operations in Silvan with curfew in 11th day
ANKARA / DİYARBAKIR
AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has vowed that military operations in the southeastern district of Silvan “will continue until not a single terrorist remains” amid a curfew in effect for more than 10 days in the deserted town in Diyarbakır.
“The operations will continue until all provinces, districts and roads are safe,” Davutoğlu told reporters on Nov. 13, denying that people in Silvan have faced dire shortages of water, food and electricity, as residents of the predominantly Kurdish populated town have seen a days-long curfew and continuing military operations against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.
“All requirements of civilians in Silvan are being met,” said Turkish premier, adding that the operation in Silvan was “to be completed on a vast scale.”
Davutoğlu also directed criticism at deputies of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for not raising their voices against the PKK.
Thousands of people living in the southeastern town have been stuck in their homes or over a week now due to the imposed curfew and clashes between security forces and PKK militants.
Thousands of residents fled amid the indeterminate curfew in effect for more than 10 days, which was imposed on Nov. 3 for military operations militants, daily Hürriyet reported.
The curfew imposed on Silvan’s Mescit, Konak and Tekel neighborhoods was on its 11th day on Nov. 13 as military operations were reported to be ongoing with additional military vehicles, weapons and ammunitions being sent to the curfew-hit town.
Signal jammers were placed along all roads leading into Silvan with the escort of well-trained military dogs, while the security level was high in the town.
Any entry to and from Konak is barred and watched by armored vehicles to allow the filling of trenches dug by militants.
Daily Hürriyet reported that militants in Silvan’s Mescit neighborhood use schools, homes and even mosques as shelters and warehouses.
An elementary school and a high school both were extremely damaged in Mescit.
Silvan District Governor Murat Kütük said the military activities for filling trenches dug by militants were ongoing in the three neighborhoods.
“The terrorist organization fires rockets at caterpillars filling trenches. Activities are carefully held because there are explosives planted in trenches. We do our best to meet the demands of our citizens who had to flee their homes. We opened public guesthouses for those fled their homes in neighborhoods of intense clashes,” Kütük said.
Kütük said there were around 40 trenches and barricades in the neighborhoods with the curfew in effect.
“The security personnel do not have the equipment necessary to fill trenches so we use tools, which were sent from central Diyarbakır as well as other provinces and towns around,” he added.
Education services in Silvan were also halted due to the ongoing military operation as bussing students to the out-of-curfew neighborhoods does not work because parents do not want to let their children out due to the intense clashes.
Meanwhile, a curfew was declared in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin until further notice, according to a written statement released by the Mardin Governor’s Office, Doğan News Agency reported.
The curfew was imposed on the entire district starting from 9 p.m. on Nov. 13 so that security forces could fill in trenches and remove barricades, the statement said.
The current curfew is the sixth one imposed on Silvan in the last four months. In addition, citizens in Turkey’s troubled southeastern towns often lack electricity and water, while communications, including cellular phones, the internet and land lines, are often down. Delegations formed by politicians and journalists are not allowed in the neighborhoods under curfew.