Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the Turkish government, accusing authorities of putting the lives of 200,000 Kurdish residents at risk by deliberately starving them of food, medical care, and targeting them during military operations.
John Dalhuisen, Central Asia Programme Director for Amnesty, accused Turkey of targeting and punishing its Kurdish populations, “The operations currently being conducted under round-the-clock curfews are putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk and are beginning to resemble collective punishment“.
More than 150 civilians are estimated to have been killed during security operations in Kurdish territories under curfew, the watchdog said. In many areas, lack of access to food and medical care, as well as water and power cuts, have put thousands of lives at risk.
Amnesty cited numerous reports that claimed Turkish security forces were preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew. In one incident, a body of a man killed during clashes in Silopi was left unburied at the family’s home for 12 days before authorities allowed it to be collected.
The pressure group has called on Turkish authorities to restore communal services, stop siege-like curfews and allow access to the Kurdish territories for independent observers.
The Kurds, Turkey’s largest ethnic minority, have been striving to gain independence from Turkey. Tensions in the country escalated in summer 2015 after 33 Kurdish activists were killed in a suicide blast in Suruc near the Syrian border. Two Turkish policemen were later murdered by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which led to Ankara’s military campaign against the group.