Kurdish town under siege by Turkish security forces, with reports of 30 dead.

Walton Pantland Turkey, Kurdistan

Cizre is a predominantly Kurdish town of 100,000 people near the Turkish border with Syria. Since Friday, the town has been besieged by Turkish police and army, who say they are hunting Kurdish militants.

Cirze curfew

Police are blocking access to Cizre

A curfew is in effect, and entry to the town has been cut off. The water supply has been cut, food is scarce and the electricity supply intermittent, with reports that power distribution centres have been bombed. The BBC reports that civilians have died as a result of not being able to get to hospital because of the curfew.

There is only one doctor working in town. Ambulances have been prevented from attending to the wounded the wounded.

Among the dead are Cemile Çağırga a 12 year old, Meryem Süme (53) mother of 7 children and two sister-in-laws Zeynep and Maşallah Edin. There are some disturbing images from the attack here that we have chosen not to publish.

Supporters march to Cirze

Supporters march to Cirze

A large group of supporters, including a group of HDP marched 90 kilometres to the town to show their support. They have been block at the entrance to the town.

Turkey is drifting towards civil war, after the left wing Kurdish HDP party did surprisingly well in June elections, preventing the ruling AKP party from winning a majority.  This threatens President Tayyip Erdogan’s power, and he has been trying to build a right wing coalition ever since. Many left wing Turks voted for the HDP.

This has lead Erdogan to renew attacks on the Kurds in an attempt to shore up right wing support for his provisional government, tearing up the peace process with the Kurdish militant PKK. Despite being a NATO member, and supposedly part of the coalition fighting Daesh (Islamic State), Turkey has lead air strikes on Kurdish forces fighting Daesh.

There has been a wave of attacks on Kurdish targets, including HDP offices, by nationalist mobs as well as security forces.

The HDP are calling for a renewal of the peace protest.  The party opposes violence by both the PKK and the Turkish state, but feel that the responsibility for the situation lies with Turkey. They report that:

The Turkish state and the provisional AKP government are implementing all sorts of oppressive measures such as forbidding entry into and departure from Kurdish cities against which it launches military operations, cutting off all communication including phone and internet lines, blocking off press and observers to prevent the truth about what is happening on the ground from reaching national and international public attention.

A curfew has been in place in the province of Cizre for the past week where 21 civilians have been killed. The province of Cizre have been under siege for days where there is serious shortage of food, water, access to basic health services, preventative treatment of the wounded, and burial of those who have been killed by state security forces. Serious concerns regarding fears of civilian massacre in Cizre have been voiced by the elected members of the parliament and civil society organizations.

 

 


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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