Friday, March 10, 2017

UN Blames Ankara for Mass Killings, Torture and Destruction in Kurdish Areas

Turkish security forces have taken part in numerous killings and large-scale destruction during operations in the Kurdish-dominated areas in the southeast of the country, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said Friday.

"Between July 2015 and December 2016, some 2,000 people were reportedly killed in the context of security operations in South-East Turkey… OHCHR documented numerous cases of excessive use of force; killings; enforced disappearances; torture; destruction of housing and cultural heritage," an OHCHR report on the human rights situation in South-East Turkey said.

Incitements of hatred, emergency care denial, prevention of food and water access and freedom of speech curtailments were also a cause for concern over the same period, during which tensions between Turkey's Kurdish minority and Ankara reached a peak, according to the report.

 The situation was particularly alarming during extensive curfew periods imposed over entire districts and cities, the UN added.

The OHCHR reviewed "alarming" satellite images indicating an enormous scale of destruction caused by shelling in Kurdish cities such as Nusaybin and Diyarbakir. Damage was also widespread in Cizre, where nearly 200 died as a result of fires and shelling of entire neighborhoods.

The report also mentioned attacks against security personnel, politicians and members of the public by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The UN went on to state that the government response was disproportionate and expressed concern over the absence of any investigation or persecution over unlawful killings in the region.

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