CHP urges lifting curfew in Cizre, demands government explanation

CHP urges lifting curfew in Cizre, demands government explanation

CHP urges lifting curfew in Cizre, demands government explanation

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Turkey’s main social-democrat party has called on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to explain the reason for the state of siege in Cizre in the southeastern province of Şırnak while also demanding an end to the week-long curfew in the area. 

All of Cizre’s 150,000 people have effectively been placed under arrest, something that is not acceptable in any country governed by the rule of law, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said Sept. 10, speaking at a joint press conference in parliament along with his party’s deputy parliamentary group chair, Levent Gök.

If Turkey is ruled by law, then the government should immediately end the curfew, Tanrıkulu said, noting that a one-week curfew cannot exist in any place on the world.

“How can a travel ban be placed on ministers? [On Sept. 9], I spoke to Parliamentary Speaker [İsmet Yılmaz] and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş. If you care for parliament’s reputation, then you should end this situation about the deputies. Either you should lift the curfew or not prevent the deputies and the ministers from reaching there,” Tanrıkulu said, warning that insisting on bans would lead to further public indignation.

A co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, and other HDP parliamentarians started a 90-kilometer-long march on Sept. 9 toward Cizre after security forces halted their convoy. On Sept. 10, they launched a sit-down protest on a hillside near the border with Syria and Iraq after their path was blocked by soldiers with riot shields, party officials said. 

Cizre has been under curfew since last week as security forces seek to force the submission of locals who have dug trenches to keep out armored personnel carriers and erected sheets between buildings to hamper efforts of snipers from the security forces. Scores have been killed by security forces since the beginning of the siege. HDP politicians say they want to bring attention to the dire security and health conditions in the town.

The army, meanwhile, says it is conducting an operation to apprehend militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the city.

Demirtaş was accompanied by Turkish European Union Minister Ali Haydar Konca and Development Minister Müslüm Doğan, both from the HDP and members of an interim cabinet steering the country to a snap parliamentary election on Nov. 1. 

Gök said there was no electricity or internet connection in Cizre and that they had not been able to obtain any information from governmental officials.

“There is a tragedy going on in Cizre where civilians have not even been able to perform burial procedures,” Gök said. The HDP, despite having 80 seats at parliament, is not able to hold a meeting in the city in its capacity as a legal personality, he added.