Rights Groups Warn of Rising Civilian Toll in Turkish Crackdown on Kurds

Urge Turkey to Rein in Security Forces

Citing its own investigations and data collected by local human rights groups, Human Rights Watch has issued a new report today warning of growing civilian death tolls in Turkey’s military crackdown on the ethnic Kurdish southeast.

HRW’s own report, which documented just a “sample” of the military curfews against Kurdish towns, documented 15 civilian deaths, and also lent credence to local groups which put the overall toll from crackdowns since July at over 100 civilians.

Over the course of its war against the Kurdish PKK, Turkey’s military has regularly put towns under curfew, cutting off electricity and surrounding the towns with military snipers. Those shot in the crackdowns have at times been denied medical treatment.

Turkey has so far insisted everyone slain was a PKK terrorist, but the HRW report documented women, children, and the elderly among the targets of the increasingly indiscriminate military operations. President Erdogan has vowed to continue the operation until they “cleanse” Turkey of PKK.

The opposition HDP party has criticized the military crackdown as well, leading to a terror investigation against some of their leadership. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the HDP’s leadership as “divisive,” also slamming one of their leaders for a planned visit to Moscow.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.