State Terror: From Lice in 1993 to Silopi in 2015

State terror in Silopi, August 7, 2015

In 1993, one of the most horrific human rights violations took place in Lice( town in southeast Turkey’s Diyarbakır Province with Kurdish majority) between 20-23 October. Turkish Army using  the assassination of General Bahtiyar Aydın, the regional commander of the Turkish Jandarma in Diyarbakır, as an excuse (which PKK strongly denied), systematically moved throughout the town, randomly firing live ammunition at the mainly Kurdish civilians and destroying both residential and commercial buildings. By the end of 23 October, at least 30 residents had been killed and a hundred more were wounded, while an estimated 401 homes and 242 businesses were destroyed, according to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, which described Lice as having become “ruined and burned out”.

Today (August 7, 2015), early in the morning around 4am., police besieged Zap neighborhood of Silopi district, in Şırnak. People digged ditches in order to prevent police from entering since they well knew from the past that once police and armed forces entered there would be a possible massacre as happened in Lice and in many other Kurdish villages during 90s. In return to the local people’s resistence police opened fire on civilians while burning civilian houses. People trying to extinguish their burning houses desperately, were shot by snipers on the roofs. One of them was 58 year old Hamdin Ulaş who was shot to death while struggling to save his burning house. Ironically governer of Şırnak claimed that the operation was directed at PKK’s youth organization YDG-H but the civilian deaths, children among casulties and burning houses prove the otherwise.

The second victim of today’s massacre is 17 year old Mehmet Hıdır Tandoğan who was murdered by police fire infront of the hospital where people were taking him to since he was already injured. There are also reports coming from the field stating that police attempted to capture hospital security footage and tried to intervene and frighten hospital staff.

Third victim, Kamuran Bilin was detained despite the fact that he was injured. He was tortured and his jaw bone was broken. It was to late when he was taken to the hospital at last. Number of casulties is uncertain since clashes continued for hours and people were afraid to take the injured ones to the hospital since both the neighborhood and the hospital were under police blockade. Also a call for volunteer doctors was made due to the insufficient number of staff in Silopi Public Hospital.

After the elections on June 7, AKP took a much more violent path towards internal affairs, particularly Kurdish issue, escalating chaos in order to hold an early election for securing presidency of Erdoğan at last. AKP policy bets on the idea that people afraid of chaos and state of war and far nationalists on the orther hand would eventually resupport AKP to avoid economical and political instability and the rise of Kurdish movement. Some of the attacks which state uses as an excuse to declare martial law are not claimed by PKK’s official units who imply the possible involvement of counterinsurgency.

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