Civilans evacuated as clashes intensify in southeastern Turkey

Civilans evacuated as clashes intensify in southeastern Turkey

Civilans evacuated as clashes intensify in southeastern Turkey

AFP photo

Fierce clashes continued Dec. 22 in several southeastern Turkish towns and cities as hundreds of people, including children, were removed from their houses in Silopi, a town in Şırnak, to safe spots by security forces. 

More outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were killed, the military said while one more soldier was also killed. 

The evacuated people, estimated at about 500, were sheltered at a sports hall initially, before being moved to the houses of their relatives in calm districts. The evacuation demand came from the citizens, Anadolu Agency reported. Kids said they feared the gun shots, it said. 

Doğan News Agency said many families in the neighborhoods of Nuh, Cudi, Yenişehir, Karşıyaka, Yeşiltepe and Şehit Harun Boy were facing difficulties in accessing water, food and other basic needs. 

Tanks were operating on some streets of Cudi. 

Thousands of people have reportedly left the districts where clashes continue. 

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said while addressing his party deputies in a weekly meeting that the displaced people will get state support.

“Our governors will contact our citizens and meet their needs,” he said, adding that craftsmen in the region will also receive aid and incentives. 

Some houses were largely destroyed in clashes in Silopi. A bomb that hit a house luckily caused no casualty since it was empty. 

On Dec. 22, Birkan Gündüz, a gendarmerie specialized sergeant who was killed by the PKK in the Sur district of Diyarbakır a day earlier, was laid to rest. 

Separate ceremonies were held for gendarmerie specialized sergeant Samet Pişkin and specialized corporal Eren Kılıç, who were killed by a road side bomb in Bitlis, another southeastern Turkish province. 

Specialized sergeant İslam Çakar and two militants were killed in a fresh operation in Bitlis on Dec. 22. 

All four soldiers were 25 years old. 

The Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement on Dec. 22 that 12 PKK militants were killed in recent operations in Cizre alone, bringing the toll to 103 in the town. 

In Diyarbakır’s Sur, 16-year-old Şiyar Baran, was heavily wounded by a gunshot on Dec. 22, Doğan reported.

Baran was hospitalized but succumbed to his wound. Police have launched an investigation into his death, Doğan said. A crowd that protested the curfew also clashed with the security forces. 

Some 52 militants have been killed in the operations that have continued for almost a month in Sur, pro-government news agency Anadolu said. Some eight of them were killed in Dec. 22 clashes while four soldiers were injured. 

Doğan said more water cannon vehicles, tanks and armored vehicles were being deployed to Mardin and Diyarbakır.

“The Turkish government should rein in its security forces, immediately stop the abusive and disproportionate use of force, and investigate the deaths and injuries caused by its operations,” Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Dec. 22.