December seems to have been the worst month of 2015 for the Kurdish minority in Turkey. In the early December additional units of Gendarmerie and Armed Forces, including tanks and combat helicopters were sent to southeastern provinces of Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt and Hakkari.
A curfew has been imposed in numerous cities with checkpoints set on the roads and traffic restrictions implemented.
The situation in the South-East has almost no coverage in the Turkish media, only isolated cases of deaths by natural causes have been registered.
Meanwhile the humanitarian situation is desperate. The authorities have enforced a blockade over the region and have shut down both cell coverage and the internet.
Humanitarian missions are prohibited from entering the area of a so-called cleansing operation. Hundreds of houses, dozens of schools and official buildings have been damaged by artillery fire. To get to medical centers locals have to risk their lives.
According to Abdusselam Inceoren, the Head of the Diyarbakir-branch of the Human Rights Association, Turkish Armed Forces and Gendarmerie target civilians under the pretext of fighting terrorism. “They pay no heed to women, children and the elderly,” said Inceoren.
Reuters citing the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party reports at least 38 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the operation, with more than 200,000 persons displaced. The HRW estimates the number of killed civilians at more than 100.
Turkish MP Faysal Sarıyıldız reported that a four-month-old toddler Meray had been shot from an AFV in Cizre on the 25th of December. She didn’t survive the trip to hospital. “Meray was born during a curfew 3 months ago. She is killed during this one. For them, this is what our children deserve,” Sarıyıldız wrote on his Twitter.
President Erdogan reiterated that Turkey will continue to fight those he called ‘sympathizers of Kurdistan Workers’ Party’ until they are totally eliminated. This is tantamount to an ethnocide of the Kurdish minority.
Civilians have been fired at by heavy machine guns, tanks and airstrikes. These measures were meant to stabilize the regional turmoil but they have only exacerbated the situation so far.
The cities of Van, Mardin, Diyarbakir and Istanbul have witnessed large-scale mass protests. The protesters have erected barricades and demanded an end to the ethnocide of Kurds.
The conflict between Turkish authorities and the Kurdistan Labor Party has lasted for more than 30 years. It has resulted in some 40 thousand victims and countless Kurdish refugees have left for Europe and the U.S.
This time President Erdogan intends to exploit the shifts in the regional politics to resolve the Kurdish question by force under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Though he benefits from cooperation and oil trade with the Iraqi Kurds, Erdogan seeks to avoid the rise of pro-Kurdish political parties in Turkey. So the Turkish President has chosen ethnocide over dialogue with the Kurds. This is unforgettable and unforgivable and it is quite possible that the Turkish strongman will be reminded of that soon.