Turkish Police Snipers Killing Kurdish Civilians in Southeast

Anti-Protest Law Turns Kurdish Towns Into Live-Fire Zones

When the resumption of the Turkish war against the Kurdish PKK fueled protests among Kurdish civilians, parliament was quick to pass a law authorizing police to use live ammunition to quell protests, after police complained the heavy use of teargas against Kurds was no longer enough.

Opponents warned this would turn Kurdish towns into live-fire areas, and this appears to be exactly what is happening, as locals report police sealing off Kurdish towns and snipers setting up shop on top of roofs, firing at people as they pass by.

Witnesses describe an incident in which the snipers shot and badly wounded 55-year-old Hamdi Olas. He wasn’t engaged in a protest at the time. His family managed to finally get him in a car and drove him toward the hospital, but were stopped out front. The driver was forced out of the car, and police shot up the car after that, killing Olas and wounding the friend who was escorting him.

Some of these towns are seeing thousands of police deployed with non-specific orders to tamp down Kurdish unrest, which mostly involves shutting down pro-Kurdish news outlets and shooting up the towns willy-nilly. One might call this excessive police overreach, but all indications are that this is exactly what the police were being ordered to do.

Elsewhere in the country, violence against the Kurdish minority is increasingly in fashion as well, with the opposition HDP, the pro-Kurdish and generally pro-minority party in the country, reported 126 of its party’s buildings being attacked, with violent mobs even moving against their headquarters in the capital of Ankara.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.