In less than five months, at least 162 civilians were killed in Turkey’s southeast as a result of heavy clashes between Turkish security forces and the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK), a report by the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) said late Saturday.
In the period between Aug. 16, 2015 and Jan. 8 of this year, 32 children, 29 women and 24 elderly people were among the civilians killed in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeast, according to the report.
The Turkish government imposed 58 curfews in several cities and towns in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Batman, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Hakkari, Mardin, Mus and Sirnak, as military and police launched a major ground operation against the PKK, the foundation said.
The report added that security forces violated the human rights of more than 1.3 million people who resided in the areas under curfew.
The report also said the period between Dec. 11 and Jan. 8 was one of the deadliest periods since the ground operation began and saw the death of 14 children, 18 women and 15 elderly civilians.
The TİHV also said people were killed during protests in neighborhoods where no clashes took place. At least four people were killed when Turkish troops opened fire at protesters, according to the report.
Violence between the PKK and Turkey resumed in July, putting an end to a cease-fire and almost two years of peace talks. The operation against the PKK started with airstrikes against its camps and hideouts in the mountainous areas in Turkey’s south and Iraq’s north.
"Do not be be a part of the Kurdish massacre in Turkey" , Kurds in London protested yesterday pic.twitter.com/ty2v73kKPp— kurdish blogger (@kurdishblogger) January 6, 201
In August, Ankara launched a ground operation to crack down on what it called urban groups linked to the PKK in cities and towns in the southeast.
“Even though there have been no official statements, according to the media almost 10,000 troops are involved in operations in districts such as Cizre, Sur and Silopi, where curfews are in place,” the report said. “Furthermore, hundreds of armored military vehicles such as tanks have been dispatched to the districts and cities in question.”
According to government figures, more than 260 members of the security forces have been killed in clashes with the PKK.
The Turkish state and the PKK have been in conflict since 1979 when the Marxist Kurdish militants launched an insurgency seeking independence and self-rule in the southeast regions. The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people, most of them Kurdish.
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