Since July 2015, in tandem with the end of the peace process and resumption of the armed conflicts, severe law violations have started to occur.
The statement we released for the Human Rights Day shows that in the year 2015 up until December 5th, 2015, 173 people lost their lives as a result of extrajudicial punishment, 226 people were wounded, and 523 people -out of which, 171 were military/police/village guards, 195 were armed militants and 157 were civilians- lost their lives because of armed clashes. During this period, as a consequence of the suicide bombing attacks by jihadists, 138 were killed and 929 people were wounded.
The most obvious feature of this period has been the curfews, which were declared unlawfully, along with the blockade of a number of towns. Governors and district governors do not have any power to declare a curfew in Turkey’s current legislation. According to the Provincial Administration Law No. 5442, no such authority has been given. No such authority exists even within the scope of a recent legislative package, known as the internal security package (or domestic security package) by the public. In Turkey’s legislation, a curfew can only be declared according to the martial law and emergency laws. Although we have expressed this issue continuously, Kurdish towns have been blockaded and the war has been carried in a lawless manner, violating the Constitution, ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights), and existing laws.
The ongoing armed conflict in Turkish Kurdistan has created a situation where the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which regulate humanitarian law, and to which Turkey is a party, needs to be applied. It is inexplicable that the European Council and especially the United Nations, which are both responsible for the implementation of the Conventions, remain silent on this matter. As human rights defenders, we invite the international community not to remain indifferent to the ongoing armed conflict in Turkey any longer.
The political power in Turkey, which did not accept the election results of June 7th, 2015, created a de facto situation during the period that led Turkey to the November 1st, 2015 elections in a climate of fear and violence. President Erdogan explained this situation by saying that “the system has changed.” While this de facto situation is still ongoing, a peculiar state of lawlessness, in which the Constitution and laws are not applied, continues. The Parliament must immediately start a comprehensive investigation about the recent events and force the government to act according to the law.
According to data from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, in this ongoing period that started on August 16th, 2015, curfews have been declared in 8 counties in Diyarbakir for a total of 32 times, in 3 counties in Mardin for a total of 9 times, in 2 counties in Sirnak for a total of 7 times, in 1 county in Hakkari for a total of 4 times, in Mus/Varto, Batman/Sason and Elazig/Aricak for one time, directly affecting 1 million 300 thousand people, but also cumulatively affecting the Kurdish cities as a whole.
The ongoing curfews in Sur county in Diyarbakir, Dargecit and Nusaybin counties in Mardin, and Cizre and Silopi counties in Sirnak have turned into complete disasters. Tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. Instead of opposing the unlawful practices in order to maintain education, The Ministry of Education gave the teachers a notice based on fictitious reasons and condoned the fact that the schools have turned into special operation bases. The Minister of Health issued a mandatory weekly boarding work schedule, confining the medical personnel to hospitals, and remained silent about the blockade of hospitals by the police/military. In the counties under blockade, access to public health has been blocked, education right has been abandoned, and daily life has been made unbearable by preventing the public from meeting its basic needs. In addition, numerous civilians lost their lives due to shootings by special operations snipers placed in elevated positions and extrajudicial killings were carried out before the eyes of the world.
All these unlawful practices and violations of law have been only watched by the judiciary of Turkey, without any steps taken for an effective investigation. Police brutality towards the people who are exercising their right to protest against the severe violations is still continuing and taking lives. The Kurds have been rebelling against the incidents taking place in the Kurdistan area, whereas the West of Turkey has been kept inactive via media, and people who are objecting to the events are tremendously suppressed.
All these incidents are results of insisting on violence in solving the Kurdish problem. We are calling to all parties involved. The Kurdish problem cannot be solved with policies of violence. Dialogue and negotiations must resume immediately, abiding by the February 28th, 2015 Declaration. The government must abolish isolation of Abdullah Ocalan to continue the dialogue and negotiations, and must stop this meaningless, repetitive war immediately.
As human rights defenders, we will continue to document all practices against the law and these severe violations of human rights, and we will struggle to end these violations.
Human Rights Association