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Turkey: civilians feel strain of government push to wipe out PKK

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Turkey: civilians feel strain of government push to wipe out PKK


From town to bloody battlefield, Cizre is one of dozens of areas affected by the fighting in Turkey’s restive southeast.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been uprooted in the past week in the Turkish army’s campaign to wipe out Kurdish militants from the region.

Human rights groups and local officials say at least 200 insurgents and more than 150 civilians have been killed in that period.


The PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party — deemed a terrorist organisation in Turkey and the EU — is the main target of the government-backed strikes.

In July, 2015, it called off a two-year-long ceasefire, which had followed three decades of war.

Local residents on lockdown

Local residents are feeling the strain.

Shopkeeper, Abdullah Deger, told the press:
“As tradesmen, we are miserable. To fulfil the needs of the people, we put our lives in danger and open our shops. How long will this continue?”

Ramazan Simsek, also a shopkeeper, added:
“We’re suffering electricity and water cuts. No one is in a good frame of mind, especially the children. They can’t go to school and they’re not getting enough education. The community is miserable right now.”

Several cities in the southeast are under lockdown as clashes intensify.

Since fighting began in 1984, the violence has largely been focussed in the countryside. However, more recently, battles have been raging in urban areas. The PKK’s youth wing has set up barricades and dug trenches in an effort to deter the government forces.

To-date more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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