In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, Feb 10, 2016

ISTANBUL – A deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) says the bodies of 27 more people purportedly killed in a Turkish military operation have been retrieved from the basement of a building in Sirnak’s Cizre district, which has been under curfew for close to two months.

HDP deputy for Sirnak, Faysal Sariyildiz (DHA)

HDP deputy for Sirnak, Faysal Sariyildiz (DHA)

HDP Sirnak deputy Faysal Sariyildiz alleged on Tuesday that the bodies, located in the basement of a building in Cudi neighbourhood, were taken to the morgue of Cizre State Hospital. The bodies of 11 other people were taken from the same building on Monday.

There have been intense clashes between Turkish security forces and the terrorist [sic] Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the district, which, along with curfews, have paralyzed the daily lives of the locals and led to the killing of many.

On Monday the state-run TRT Haber TV channel reported that at least 60 PKK members had been killed in a recent operation in Cizre. However, the Turkish General Staff announced that 10 PKK militants were killed in the operation in Cizre. While Turkish authorities say it was the PKK terrorists who were killed in Cizre, pro-Kurdish sources say it was civilians who took refuge in the basements of buildings.

HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtas said on Tuesday that between 70 and 90 people, many of whom are injured, have been forced to remain in the basements of a number of buildings in Cizre’s Cudi neighborhood for 20 days. Many are either locals or university students who came to Cizre to show solidarity. Demirtas said the security forces believe there are PKK terrorists among those holding out in the basements, which is why they have not been allowed to leave the basements, and security forces have fired shells at the buildings regardless of the presence of civilians.

HDP’s Sariyildiz told the Diken online news portal that the incident, which was later refuted by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Interior Minister Efkan Ala, did in fact take place and the number of the people killed has been announced in parts in order to avoid public backlash.

“The basement of a building where 62 people took refuge was hit with shells. We were informed that, as a result, the bodies were in pieces and body parts were collected and then taken to the municipal hearse,” Sariyildiz told Diken.

The bodies of eight people who were killed in Cizre, two of whom are women, were taken to the Council of Forensic Medicine in Sanliurfa on Wednesday for an autopsy and identification.

HDP officials have long been claiming that people, some injured, are stranded, while the government says its attempts to offer treatment to the stranded people have failed, leading the government to doubt the presence of any such people. There were 26 people in one of the buildings, while the second was estimated to contain 58-60 wounded, according to pro-Kurdish sources.

Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoglu announced on Wednesday that his ministry is working 24 hours a day to offer treatment to those injured in the country’s southeast. However, he said work by healthcare personnel has been disrupted by the PKK, which attacks ambulances with firearms and Molotov cocktails. Müezzinoglu said 29 ambulances have become unusable due to the PKK’s attacks in the region.

‘Stop Life’ protests

Shop owners in Hakkari’s Semdinli and Çukurca districts on Wednesday refused to open their shops and continued the ‘Stop Life’ protest, which was launched on Tuesday in protest of the clashes, operations and weeks-long curfews as well as the alleged killings of civilians in Cizre.

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK) — a pro-Kurdish civil society organization — the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and various Kurdish civil society organizations called on Kurdish shop owners not to open their shops for three days as part of the protest.

Shop owners in Tunceli city center also did not open their shops on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced in a statement on the General Staff’s website on Wednesday that 20 PKK terrorists were killed on Tuesday in ongoing operations in Cizre.

Read also:
Historic Sur in eastern Turkey, surrounded by tanks, far from resembling Toledo (Spain), Today’s Zaman, Feb 10, 2016

Latest situation in Cizre: 66 massacred, no news from 73 others, ANF News, Feb 10, 2016

While people trapped in basements are being massacred by state forces in the Şırnak province town of Cizre, dozens of corpses have been taken to hospital and no news has been received from many others facing a threat of imminent execution. Out of the 134 people known to be stuck in basements–94 in Cudi and 45 in Sur neighborhoods–66 have been verified massacred so far…

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