Children pay price in PKK-Turkey conflict

Renewed conflicts between the Turkish Army and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) led to the killings of 61 children in 2015, according to the Human Rights Association of Turkey.

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (K24) - Renewed conflicts between the Turkish Army and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) led to the killings of at least 61 children in 2015, according to the Human Rights Association of Turkey (HRAT).

The Diyarbakir branch of HRAT revealed in a fact sheet released during a press conference on February 2 that the total number of children killed across the country is 107.

Statistics also included those killed due to "domestic and social violence," as well as suicides across Kurdistan of Turkey, reports a K24 correspondent at the press conference.

Additionally, the report states that police detained at least 400 children last year, 66 of whom are in prison.

Mahsun Kaya, an attorney and member of the Children's Rights Commission of HRAT, says the amount of rights violations against minors is unprecedented since the PKK-Turkey conflict restarted in summer 2015.

Kaya accused Turkish authorities of "awarding" security forces whom he holds responsible for the killings, "Killing children is a war [sic] crime.”

Kaya added that five minors are in a Diyarbakir prison presently and face torture though he did not provide a complete number of underage inmates in the prison.

The head of the Diyarbakir HRAT, Raci Bilici, touched upon the plight of more than 20 people trapped in a basement in the devastated southeastern town of Cizre, where Turkish forces are currently battling PKK affiliates.

Bilici accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of war crimes and called for an immediate halt to the military operation in the town to free those trapped.


Editing by Benjamin Kweskin
(Hesen Kako contributed to this report from Diyarbakir)