Indeterminate curfew in effect in eastern town as PKK violence prevails

Indeterminate curfew in effect in eastern town as PKK violence prevails

Özgür Korkmaz - DİYARBAKIR
Indeterminate curfew in effect in eastern town as PKK violence prevails

DHA photo

After three members of Turkey’s security forces were killed in the latest attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s southeast, an indeterminate curfew went into effect starting from Aug. 24 at noon in the Silvan district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

The curfew in Silvan took effect starting from 12 p.m. on Aug. 24, with an end date remaining unclear. 

Police officers told locals outside to go inside their homes over loudspeakers after they began anti-terror operations in three neighborhoods, namely Tekel, Konak and Mescit.   

After the police announcement, shopkeepers put their shutters down while gunshots and explosions were heard multiple times in the town.

Speaking to Hürriyet Daily News, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır deputy Nursel Aydoğan said she along with several members of her party sought permission from the Silvan district governor’s office to enter the neighborhoods subjected to anti-terror operations, but they were denied an entrance permit for security reasons.

Turkey has been roiled by PKK violence against its security forces, with three security officials killed in the latest attacks in country’s southeast.

Two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded after PKK militants detonated a sizeable amount of explosives laid in a culvert in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari during the passing of a military vehicle. The wounded soldiers were taken to a local hospital as a wide-scale operation began in the region to apprehend the PKK militants.

In a separate incident, a police officer died early Aug. 24 after he was attacked with a gun by an unknown assailant or assailants in front of his father’s house in the southeastern province of Mardin.

Yakup Mete, 20, was gravely wounded in a gun attack in front of his father’s house in the Nusaybin district where he was spending the weekend with his family. After receiving initial treatment at a local hospital, he was transferred to Mardin but ultimately succumbed to his injuries early Aug. 24.

The situation ‘could get out of hand’ 

Speaking to a group of journalists on Aug. 24 in Silvan, the co-mayors of Diyarbakır warned the situation in the region could get worse. 

“The state officials in Diyarbakır have no authority anymore, all the decisions are being taken in Ankara, as part of a war concept,” argued Diyarbakır Co-Mayor Fırat Anlı. “The situation can easily get out of hand, and reach a point where even a central decision to calm things down may not be enough.”

Diyarbakır Co-Mayor Gültan Kışanak criticized the recent wave of operations that targeted mayors and officials of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a sister organization of the HDP.

“We even lost count of the mayors detained and arrested in the last two weeks,” Kışanak said, also criticizing the way the detained mayors were treated. 

“Sur Mayor Seyit Narin’s home was raided early in the morning with threats of breaking down his door, he was jumped on by the police, his wife was slammed against the wall, the police officers held a small child in the house at gunpoint,” she said.

Narin, along with Sur co-mayor Yüksel Bodakçı and five other people, was arrested on Aug. 23 on charges of “undermining the independence of the nation and destroying its unity.”

Kışanak believed the current situation is worse than during the time of Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) arrests in 2012, when tens of thousands of Kurdish politicians were detained and thousands were arrested.

“They want to intimidate everybody in the region, but the Kurdish people are well past the point of being intimidated by arrests,” she said. “It did not work in the past, and it will not work now. We will insist on doing politics and demanding peace.”

Meanwhile, the Edremit district co-mayor in the eastern province of Van, Sevil Rojbin Çetin, and Mardin’s Nusaybin district co-mayor, Sabiha Gündüz, were detained Aug. 24.