U.N. Report Accuses Turkey Of Serious Violations Against Kurds In Southeast
The United Nations has accused Turkey of serious human rights violations in the southeast of the country, which left 2,000 people dead in 18 months of government security operations.
A report the U.N. human rights office released on Friday (March 10) stated up to 500,000 people, mostly Kurds, were displaced during the Turkish military’s operations in the period of July 2015 to December 2016.
Satellite imagery showed the “enormous scale of destruction of the housing stock by heavy weaponry.”
U.N. investigators documented numerous killings, disappearances and torture as well as other human rights violations.
The most serious abuses took place during the periods of curfew imposed for several days at a time, according to the report.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Turkey has “contested the veracity of the very serious allegations” contained in the report.
Hussein expressed concern that Turkey appeared not to have launched any credible investigation into the hundreds of unlawful killings. He also urged an independent investigation into the case.
"It appears that not a single suspect was apprehended and not a single individual was prosecuted,” Hussein said.
The report stated up to 189 people were trapped for weeks in basements without water, food, medical attention and power before being killed by fire induced by shelling in the town of Cizre in early 2016.
One woman's family was given "three small pieces of charred flesh", identified by DNA as her remains. Her sister, who demanded legal action, was charged with terrorist offences, the report said.
The Turkish military launched a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after a two-year ceasefire between both sides broke down in July 2015.
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK – which demands the creation of an independent Kurdish state – has continued for over 25 years and has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
The PKK has waged a decades-long armed struggle against Turkey’s government for greater autonomy and cultural rights for the country’s Kurdish population.