Blockade of Kurdish village in southeast Turkey partially lifted after 17 days

A Turkish soldier stands guard in Turkey's Kurdish region (file photo)

The military blockade on Korukoy (Xeraba Bave) village in Turkey’s southeastern Nusaybin district was partially lifted after 17 days on Monday to allow chaff to enter the village, it has been reported.

According to Kurdish news agency Dihaber, a farmer, S.D., was allowed to enter the village with military escort to take chaff to animals in danger of perishing. At least 500 residents are still not being allowed out of the village however.

Speaking to reporters after leaving Korukoy, S.D. confirmed previous claims that there were burned houses and said soldiers were trying to destroy evidence.

“I saw burned homes and dead animals scattered around. Some workers were whitewashing and painting. When I looked at Abdi Aykut’s burned house soldiers said: ‘Turn around, look straight ahead.'”

Commenting on claims and photos showing perished animals on social media, S.D. told reporters that villagers’ livestock was not being allowed out of barns as villagers were locked in their homes. “I saw dead cows, goats and sheep. The vet who was taken to the village wasn’t taken to homes. Food was given to animals once, and that only with a signature.”

S.D. also said villagers had told him they had heard gunshots for two or three days but that things had quietened down after. “But there are still houses being used as military stations,” he added.

Turkey’s Human Rights Association released a report on Korukoy on Friday in which it said security forces had tortured villagers, burned houses and engaged in collective punishment. The delegation sent by the association was not allowed into the village. Left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) members have also been camped near Korukoy for more than 10 days, awaiting permission from military officials.

The blockade of Korukoy, which began on 11 February, has spread to neighbouring villages Doganli (Talate) and Kuyular (Cibilgirav) and also Yardere (Qurdise) on Monday. According to reports Turkish soldiers are conducting an operation against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu recently defended the torture in the village saying the villagers were helping PKK members. More than 40 people have been detained and at least four people killed in the village. Their identities are yet to be confirmed.