In Turkey / Türkiye

ANF News, March 2, 2016

Tens of thousands march in Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey on March 2, 2016 demanding end to Turkish military siege of Sur district of city (ANF)

Tens of thousands march in Diyarbakir, eastern Turkey on March 2, 2016 demanding end to Turkish military siege of Sur district of city (ANF)

Thousands of people in Amed [Diyarbakir] have started a march the central Sur district in order to break the siege ongoing for 92 uninterrupted days.

Demonstrators began marching to Sur from 13 various locations in the city, including Baglar, Yenisehir and Kayapinar districts. They carried photos of victims of the earlier siege in Cizre, chanting slogans “Long Live Sur Resistance”, “Fascist Turkey, out of Kurdistan”, “We will resist to victory”.


Hundreds gathered outside HDP and DBP party offices in Baglar district while masses from surrounding villages continue flocking to the area. People will soon start to march to Sur.


In Yenisehir district, hundreds gathered outside the DTK office before starting the march to Sur district, chanting slogans “Long Live Sur Resistance”, “Long Live Leader Apo”. Police forces attacked the mass with water cannons and tear gas, to which demonstrators responded with stones. Clashes are ongoing in the district.


In Kayapinar district, hundreds have gathered in Rojava Park which was therewith surrounded by dozens of anti-riot vehicles. People have started to march to Sur through Dicle Kent Boulevard. Those gathering outside Gaziler People’s Assembly office have also started to walk towards Park Orman where they will join others to march to Sur together.

Despite the police crackdown, people are not leaving the streets as they keep advancing towards Sur. Demonstrators have removed the barricades built up by police around the central Dagkapi Square.

HDP co-chairs Demirtas and Yüksekdag call upon international institutions to act for Sur

ANF News, March 2, 2016

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Figen Yüksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas have written a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, UN-affiliated institutions, all parliaments and the presidency of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Secretaryat General of the Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe, and embassies and political parties abroad.

They call upon all national and international democratic institutions and platforms to express strong reaction against the current political and humanitarian crisis in the Sur district of the city of Diyarbakir and to act in solidarity with the people of Sur. The letter by HDP co-chairs is as follows:

Across 58 separate curfews imposed in several neighborhoods of the 21 districts of 7 Kurdish provinces, 290 citizens have so far lost their lives. The curfew and blockade in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, declared by Diyarbakir Governorship with absolutely no legal and constitutional basis on 2 December 2015, enters its 90th day today. Twenty-four local citizens have lost their lives during this curfew. The number of losses includes only those who could be identified.

For centuries, Sur district has been the cultural, social, economic and historical heart of Diyarbakir. The curfew imposed in the district amounts to a military blockade, and is in clear violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms and state responsibilities stipulated in the Constitution, such as the right to life, right to health, right to education and right to travel. The economic, social and cultural life in Sur has come to a halt, with no electricity and water at homes and no basic services such as pharmacies and bakeries in the streets. Under these grave circumstances—and all under the gaze of the world—children, women and the elderly are losing their lives one by one. Even iconic and sacred public places, considered to be humanity’s common cultural and religious heritage, are brought to ruins during the curfew jointly enforced by military, police and paramilitary forces. Tanks and heavy artillery have damaged Diyarbakir’s city walls, officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five-hundred-year old Kursunlu Mosque, historic Hasirli Mosque, 1700 year-old Saint Mary Church, historic Surp Giragos Church and Protestant churches are among the historical places that were destroyed and rendered unusable by curfew enforcement.

One hundred and seventy-eight bodies have so far been collected from the “Savage Basements” in the Cizre district of Sirnak. Yet, the family members who were asked to identify the deceased report that the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Furthermore, bodies have been intentionally transported to various other cities in Turkey for autopsy procedures, which in turn have aggravated the suffering of the family members.

We have no other choice but to prevent the occurrence of yet another similar atrocity in Sur. The curfew in Sur has to be immediately lifted. This is the only way to prevent the recurrence of the Cizre Massacre, which, with its all cruelty, happened right in front of the world’s indifferent eyes. The military blockade must be lifted so that people whose lives are in danger can be safely evacuated.

All that is happening in Sur at the moment, and all that will happen in the coming days, is a matter of humanity and human dignity.

International public and political actors are necessarily implicated in the sustainability of the stability of Turkey and the region. In the face of recently unfolding events in Turkey, it has become an urgent need to have a clear stance along the axes of freedom, peace and democracy.

We call upon all national and international democratic institutions and platforms to express a solid reaction against the current political and humanitarian crisis in Sur and act in solidarity with the people of Sur.


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