PKK youth branches’ ditches being filled in calmer Cizre town
ŞIRNAKThe municipality of Cizre, the southeastern town in the province of Şırnak that recently witnessed deadly unrest, has begun closing ditches dug by the youth branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The ditches had been dug in a bid to prevent the security forces enter particular neighborhoods.
Members of the PKK’s youth branches had dug the ditches in the Nur, Sur and Cudi neighborhoods of Cizre during clashes across between the PKK and members of the Free Cause Party (Hüda-Par), known for its closeness to Turkey’s Hizbullah group, on Oct. 6 and 7 last year, claiming dozens of lives.
Three people were killed in Cizre on Dec. 27 in street battles between the two groups.
Following talks between Şırnak Governor Hasan İpek and officials from the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the municipality started closing up the ditches on the first day of the year.
The youth and their families had dug the ditches in order to protect themselves from detentions and arrests, said Leyla İmret, the co-mayor from the DBP.
“If the state and the government stop detentions and arrests, we will close all ditches,” İmret said, calling on the local authorities to “act more sensitively” otherwise larger ditches would be built.
The Oct. 6-7 incidents, which flared amid criticism that Turkey did not provide enough support to Kurds fighting jihadists in Kobane, the Syrian town on the Turkish border, turned into a major burden for the ongoing Kurdish peace talks, before both parties switched to a more moderate tone before the end of the year.