Turkey's President: ‘security forces killed 5,359 Kurds’
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish security forces have killed more than 5,000 Kurdish fighters since last July when the ceasefire between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish state collapsed.
In a speech addressing commanders-in-chief and military officers at the Turkish War Colleges in Istanbul on March 28, Erdogan said that 5359 Kurds were killed, wounded, or caught since last July.
Erdogan’s remarks came soon after reports by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that 4,432 PKK fighters have been killed since July 22 last year.
“While 377 security officials and 285 civilians were killed in attacks, some 1,897 others were wounded during the same period [since last July],” Turkey's leading secular Hurriyet Daily News reported on Monday.
On Jan 21, the British based human rights group Amnesty International has strongly condemned Turkey’s crackdown on Kurdish areas, accusing the government of collective punishment against the people living in the predominantly Kurdish southeast.
“The Turkish government’s onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighbourhoods, which includes round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services, is putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk and amounts to collective punishment,” Amnesty International report said.
The report further pointed out that there have also been numerous reports of security forces preventing ambulances from entering areas under curfew and providing treatment to the sick.
"Cuts to water and electricity supplies combined with the dangers of accessing food and medical care while under fire are having a devastating effect on residents, and the situation is likely to get worse, fast, if this isn’t addressed,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
Regarding the violence on Turkey’s Kurdish areas, Reuters reported that Turkey’s southeast has been gripped by violence since July, with the security forces battling the PKK and its youth wing, known as the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), in densely populated urban centers.
“The fighting has marked the deadliest period in at least two decades of the insurgency,” the report said.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat