2,000 killed in Turkey’s southeast, grave human rights violations: UN report

An elderly Kurdish woman searches amongst the rubble in Cizre, March 2016, Photo: Duygu Yildiz/Kom News

The United Nations has said at least 2,000 people were killed during 18 months of clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkish security forces in the country’s majority Kurdish southeast.

A UN human rights report released today accused Turkey of grave human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, destruction of civilian areas and displacement, between July 2015 and December 2016.

According to the report 800 of those killed were security forces while it could not be determined how many of the 1,200 people were civilians and how many had participated in the conflict. More than 500,000 people had been displaced, the report said.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in a statement that Turkey had “contested the veracity of the very serious allegations” in the report.

According to Reuters, the UN chief showed concern that Turkey had not launched a any credible investigation into the “hundreds of unlawful killings”, adding that an independent investigation was both “urgent and essential”.

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

The report also referred to Kurdish town Cizre, where up to 189 people were trapped for weeks in basements in January and February 2016 without water, food, medical attention and power before being killed by fire induced by shelling, the report said.

Clashes broke out between security forces and Kurdish fighters affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in July 2015 after a two-year negotiation process was ended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.