Lately, we have read about Turkey as far as the Syria question is concerned, which is absolutely a primary issue since it is about violation of human rights.

But what if the violation of human rights were being carried out in Turkey itself? That is exactly what is happening in South Turkey, in the area of Diyarbakir, where a minority of Kurds live. Before facing the events taking place there, we need to go briefly over the Kurds history and the violations that have been carried against that minority during several years.

Kurds are a minority group whose existence, cultural identity, traditions and language have been banned by the Turkish government since the late 90s. Kurds are classified as the “Turkish people from the mountains” and they have been persecuted for years. The persecution has led the Kurds to form a political party, the PKK which is not recognized in Europe and it has been labelled as a terrorist organisation. However, the persecutions being perpetrated by the Erdogan government were far more serious. In February 2015, an agreement was being pursued in order to recognise the Kurd region and autonomy, but a few months later Erdogan denied there was such a possibility.
In July 2015, two events led to the declaration of a Special Security Zone of the Kurd area: the terrorist attack revendicated by ISIS in Suruç, near Diyarbakir and on the borderline with Syria; the autonomy declared by several Kurd cities.

A delegation of lawyers, under the request of local organisations and Bar Association, went to Diyarbakir, in the Turkish region of Kurdistan so as to monitor the population conditions. The government’s reaction was not a soft one: under the name of “administrative provision” goes a curfew that is imposing a series of restrictions on the population.

First of all, it is not possible to get out of the Diyarbakir area and, if someone manages to, it is impossible to go back. Access to first importance goods (food, electricity, water) has been limited to a level that isn’t guarantying satisfaction of the essential needs anymore. In addition to this, civilians are being shot by snipers in daylight. In fact, communication of the hours and short time when people can go out isn’t given properly and this is causing people (children included) to be killed since they are not aware of the curfew going on. Schools are closed and a lot of people who are being arrested aren’t guaranteed the right to a proper defence. Testimonies indicate that families have no right to bury their dead relatives and siblings.

If we had to draw conclusions, we shall be able to say that what is defined a “police operation” is, in fact, a military operation, that if it was to be declared, it would, at least, guarantee the presence of the Red Cross (which is not allowed in the area).

In conclusion, these violations have been going on for far too long and it is the time that the international community intervened in order to guarantee at least that humanitarian actions were taken because the label “police interventions” shouldn’t be stopping protection of human rights.

– Chiara Merlino, Correspondent (Our World)

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