PKK violence in SE Turkey forces thousands to flee

Around 200,000 people in southeastern provinces of Turkey have fled their homes because of PKK’s terrorist activities unfolding in the region.

Thousands of people — including women and children — have left their homes in Cizre and Silopi districts of southeastern Sirnak province; Sur, Silvan and Bismil districts of Diyarbakir province; and Nusaybin, Derik and Dargecit districts of Mardin province.

The reason of their move is uncomfortable and unsafe life after the terrorist organization PKK has escalated its activities, including attacks on security forces, explosives planted on the streets, plus roadblocks and ditches on roads in the last five months.

The PKK — also considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU — resumed its armed campaign in late July. Since then more than 200 members of the security forces have been martyred and around 1,700PKK terrorists killed.

Locals predominantly moved to nearby provinces and western provinces like Istanbul, Izmir and southern Mersin province.

Others still living in these certain districts, where PKKactivities are centered, are having difficulty in resuming their everyday life as there are electricity and water shortages and halts in transportation and garbage-collection services.

There are also claims that PKK members are threatening families, who want to leave their homes, in especially Cizre district of Sirnak province. PKKterrorists closed some of roads in Nusaybin and Idil streets of Cizre and locals had to walk by leaving their cars there.

“It is an escape from death and violence,” Rustem Erkan, a professor of Sociology Department of Diyarbakir-based Dicle University, tells Anadolu Agency.

“People are in the middle of conflicts where every kind of weapons are used in their districts. They are naturally running away as they want to preserve their lives,” Erkan says.

Stating that the people who had to leave their homes in the 1990s because of PKK terror are moving again, he says: “These people have faced much more serious trauma again after 25 years.” Erkan says that this situation will create serious psychological consequences.

Huseyin Seyhanlioglu, manager of the Diyarbakir-based research company, Political and Social Researches Center (SAMER), speaks of the uneasy atmosphere in Sur district in Diyarbakir province:

“There is big destruction in Sur district. We have experienced trauma in the 1990s. We will see the effects of today’s trauma after 20 years.

“An atmosphere to rehabilitate the youths should be created. … A disaster package should also be applied by the government to support shopkeepers economically.”

Mehmet Serif Oter, president of the Mardin Social Solidarity Federation, says that the PKK’s digging of ditches on roads ignited the fighting.

“People are waiting for [peace] with great fear and worry. The economy has come to a halt. These ditches have especially harmed Kurds and all the people in the region. These ditches will bring nothing but misery for the Kurdish people.”

Oter, in his interview, also calls for an end this fighting immediately by closing the ditches on roads and ending curfews in certain districts.

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