15 Killed in Weekend Fighting in Southeast Turkey

Two Soldiers, 13 Kurds Slain in Clashes

Intermittent fighting in and around the town of Idil, one of the latest Kurdish towns to be placed under Turkish military curfew, has left at least 15 people killed, including two Turkish soldiers. The other 13 were identified by officials as Kurdish militants, though Turkey has a questionable history of differentiating Kurdish rebels from civilians.

Only one of the soldiers was killed in Idil itself, with the other soldier killed by a sniper in the main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. The district in Diyarbakir is similarly under curfew, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying the curfew, in place since December 2, will end by March 21.

Military curfews have seen districts, and at times whole cities, under 24-7 closure for months on end, with anyone outside moving at any time subject to attack by military forces. This policy has fueled growing criticism from human rights groups, and growing unrest among Kurdish civilians.

Turkey has been at war with the Kurdish PKK for decades, but launched a massive build-up against them last summer, after abandoning a ceasefire effort in the lead-up to November’s election. Before the election, the Erdogan government was trying to court a nationalist party as a coalition partner, and they demanded a resumption of the war. After the election, however, Erdogan’s AKP got enough moves to win an outright majority.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.