Human rights organizations call for Turkish gov’t to relaunch settlement process

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Five non-governmental organizations have examined operations carried out by the Turkish security force members in order to eliminate Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists in the Lice district of Diyarbakır and announced a report on Thursday calling for the Turkish government to relaunch the settlement process to end violence in Turkey’s Southeast.

The report was prepared by the Diyarbakır Bar Association, Human Rights Association (İHD), Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed (Mazlum-Der) and Diyarbakır Chamber of Medicine.

It was reminded in the report that 7,500 security force members attended the operation that was started after a curfew was imposed on Lice.

Pointing that most of the locals were forced to leave their houses during the operation, the report said, “We call the [Justice and Development Party (AK Party)] government to turn back from its policy about the Kurdish issue, which is far from finding a solution to it. We call for the two sides [government and PKK] to form a dialogue and negotiate, in other words, to relaunch the settlement process.”

The PKK is designated as a “terrorist organization” by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), as well as Turkey. There have been repeated clashes between security forces and PKK members since a cease-fire between the government and the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, collapsed in July of last year.

Since the settlement process launched by the AK Party government in 2012 with the PKK to end the country’s long-standing Kurdish problem ended in July, nearly 200,000 locals in the Southeast have been forced to leave their homes due to fighting and curfews.

The authorities have been imposing curfews in towns and districts to flush PKK militants from urban areas in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish Southeast since then.

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