Armored ambulance starts serving clash-hit southeastern Diyarbakır
DİYARBAKIR – Anadolu Agency
AA photoAn armored ambulance has been deployed in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province by the Health Ministry to serve in Diyarbakır’s Sur district where clashes between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are ongoing.
Eleven ambulances, including one armored ambulance, were deployed in Diyarbakır with a handover ceremony held in the yard of the provincial health directorate.
Speaking at the ceremony, Provincial Health Director Dr. Mehmet Sait Avar said the armored vehicle was provided to serve in the city’s Sur district where it was difficult to reach the wounded because “clashes continue despite the arrival of ambulances.”
“Those who dig trenches continue to fire their arms even though they see an ambulance,” Avar claimed.
The provincial director also told reporters that around 10 ambulances were damaged due to clashes and “social incidents” in Diyarbakır after being hit by bullets or stones.
Completely armored-plated, the armored ambulance weighs a total 5.5 tons and cost $154,000, according to Doğan News Agency.
Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu announced the deployment of armored ambulances in southeastern and eastern provinces for the first time during an interview on broadcaster TGRT on Dec. 23, 2015.
The matter attracted wider public attention late January, following a row between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Kurdish-problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over news that 28 civilians were stranded in a basement in the Cizre district of the southeastern Şırnak province.
While the HDP accused the government not saving the trapped and wounded civilians, Interior Minister Efkan Ala claimed the ambulances could not arrive at the scene “because of shots fired and holes and barricades dug by terrorists.”