Two thousand killed in Turkey's restive Kurdish regions

Two thousand killed in Turkey's restive Kurdish regions
A damning UN report has documented alleged human rights abuses by Turkish forces against suspected Kurdish militants including torture, forced disappearances and killings in less than a two-year period.
2 min read
10 March, 2017

Two thousand people were killed in 18 months of government security operations in south-eastern Turkey, the United Nations said on Friday, as investigators reported a litany of abuses by Ankara's forces.

The international body said the operations, which targeted Kurdish seperatists, were characterised by massive destruction and serious human rights violations.

According to a report by the UN's human rights office, up to 500,000 people were displaced between July 2015 and December 2016. It added that satellite imagery showed the "enormous scale of destruction of the housing stock by heavy weaponry".

Investigators also documented numerous killings, disappearances and accounts of torture, among other human rights abuses.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, said in a statement on Friday that Ankara had "contested the veracity of the very serious allegations" made in the report.

The high commissioner said he was particularly concerned that Turkey had not been carried out.

"It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted," he said.

He urged an independent investigation into the matter.

Around 800 killed were Turkish security officers, while an unspecified number of the remaining deaths were possibly involved in action against Ankara.

Last year during one incident in the Kurdish-majority town of Cizre, up to 189 people were starved in a basement for weeks before being killed in a fire started by shelling, the report said.

The report says that the family of one woman was given "three small pieces of charred flesh" that were identified as her remains. When her sister demanded legal action, she was charged with terror offences.

The report comes just days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Turkish security forces have killed more than 3,000 Islamic State group militants and 10,000 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the past 18 months.

"There is a Turkey now that brings confidence to friends and spreads fear to terrorist organisations," he said in a rally on Saturday in Turkey's south-western Tekirdag province.

Turkey began an unprecedented campaign inside Syria on 24 August, targeting both IS and Kurdish militias.

The PKK is proscribed by Ankara, the US and the EU as a terror group.

The group has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 during which over 40,000 people have been killed.