Kurdish talks intensify amid Cizre tensions

Kurdish talks intensify amid Cizre tensions

Kurdish talks intensify amid Cizre tensions

A building was hit by a handmade bomb in Cizre late on Jan. 15, but no injuries were reported. DHA Photo

Government officials have held intensified meetings with Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies over unrest in the southeastern district of Cizre, which has risen sharply with the recent killings of youngsters, allegedly by the police.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan held a meeting with HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder and HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair İdris Baluken on Jan. 15 over the recent unrest in Cizre, in the province of Şırnak.

Önder and HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan were also set to meet with Interior Minister Efkan Ala on Jan. 16 to discuss events in Cizre, as well as the ongoing Kurdish peace process.

Sources said Akdoğan criticized the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over the increase in tension in the region. HDP officials, however, claimed that there is a group within the security forces that is aiming to sabotage the peace process following the Jan. 14 death of a 12-year-old boy, the latest teenager to die in Cizre in the past two weeks.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also reiterated this opinion on Jan. 16, saying there was a group within the state in Cizre that was "bent on provocation." He also called on the government to remove such people who hold public posts in the town.

“There is a group within the state in Cizre. The government known who they are and it is protecting them. If they remove this group from there, the problem will be solved,” Demirtaş told reporters in Istanbul. 

Nihat Kazanhan, 12, was allegedly shot dead without warning by police on Jan. 14 in Cizre, which has witnessed unrest involving security forces, PKK supporters and rival Islamist Kurds. Kazanhan was laid to rest on Jan. 15 with many people attending the ceremony.

The object that caused Kazanhan’s death was recorded as “unidentified material” in the autopsy report but was later claimed to be a shotgun shell. According to the police criminal laboratory, the material was a shotgun shell taken from a shop that was looted by a group of people during the Oct. 6-8, 2014, protests against the advance of Islamists jihadists in Kobane, Rojava.

However, the owner of the looted shop said he could not recognize the shotgun shell that allegedly caused Kazanhan’s death.

Meanwhile, a building was targeted by a handmade bomb in Cizre late on Jan. 15, but no injuries were reported as nobody was in the house at the time of the attack.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu denied on Jan. 15 that the death of Kazanhan had come at the hands of the security forces.

“I want to express clearly that it is out of the question that the boy who lost his life in Cizre was shot dead by our security forces’ bullets,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Davutoğlu as saying. “An actual intervention did not occur, nor was tear gas used.”

But eyewitnesses accused police of firing tear gas and bullets, despite the lack of any protest at the time when Kazanhan was hit.

Previously on Jan. 14, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on a private TV channel that police had “in no way” used weapons in Cizre, referring to the death of Kazanhan.

Six people have been killed in less than a month in violence in Cizre and the nearby district of Silopi.

Earlier this week, the Şırnak Bar Association accused police of deliberately targeting and killing 14-year-old Ümit Kurt when officers entered a flashpoint neighborhood in the city.