Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates

Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates

Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates

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The ongoing dispute between the Turkish government and the Kurdish-problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has shown no sign of slowing down, with the former categorically dismissing the latter’s charges over lack of medical services provided to 28 civilians stranded in the basement of a building in the Cizre district of southeastern Şırnak province as “speculation.”

Ambulances have been sent to the venue various times but came under fire in each attempt, Interior Minister Efkan Ala told reporters on Feb. 2. Meanwhile, the HDP has said that seven of the trapped civilians have already died.

“They couldn’t go because of shots fired and holes and barricades dug by terrorists,” Ala said, referring to alleged militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “A fiction has been made to bring the fight against terror to a halt while it is about reaching success,” he said.

Earlier that day in parliament, HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş warned about probable impacts of ongoing military operations against PKK militants, which he says has been victimizing civilians, while also appealing to people to raise their voice about plight of the 28 civilians.

“If we have been lying about the basement floor in Cizre, then proving this lie would take only a minute. Why are you preventing access to the building?” Demirtaş asked at a parliamentary group meeting of his party.

“I want to call on my Turkish siblings. What is going on at the moment is not for the good of Turkish people. Each human losing his life is ours. They are able to do this because you remain silent. There is no Turkish-Kurdish conflict. There is a war declared by the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] against Kurds here and in Rojava,” Demirtaş said.

“Each house that the AKP state has destroyed in Sur and each apartment that it has bombed in Cizre is leading to emotional breakdowns in İzmir and Istanbul too,” he added.

Demirtaş, who last month called on Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to go on a live broadcast together where they would respectively defend autonomy and the presidential system, also expanded his invitation. 

“Let’s go on live broadcast. The president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] and the prime minister can come together: ‘Full Stop and Comma.’ Let them come together,” he said, in an unveiled reference to comedy duo popular in Turkey in the 1980s called “Nokta ile Virgül” (Full Stop and Comma).