Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s state of emergency, instated Wednesday across the country, is not the first, pro-Kurdish groups have reminded.
The current law on declaring a state of emergency was passed in 1983 by a military government and implemented dozens of times almost every year since, disproportionately in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.
The law was implemented so many times in the southeast that the majority-Kurdish area was designated as the “state of emergency” region from 1987 to 2002.
The last state of emergency ended in 2002 in Diyarbakir, the political and cultural center of Turkey’s Kurds, and shortly before in the southeastern Hakkari, Tunceli and Van provinces. Despite a ceasefire with the Kurdish PKK militants, clashes and police operations in the Kurdish region had continued.
Congress has also extended the state of emergency 46 times, according to journalist Yalcin Dogan.
Asking a young Kurd about the state of emergency, Dogan wrote that the boy answered, “Brother, I’ve always seen the state of emergency, I’ve never seen anything else, I was born under the state of emergency, to this day the state of emergency has come.”
The biggest toll in the southeast, wrote Dogan, was the restriction on the right to assembly and to hold political meetings.
Martial law has also been ubiquitous in the southeast, applied for up to eight years at a time.
The Turkish Human Rights Association released a report on Thursday with the latest toll from state-imposed curfews and police operations in the southeast since January: 296 people killed, excessive use of force during 60 protests, 1900 houses and businesses raided and 3860 detained.