HDP says gov’t has given security forces a blank check for civilian killings in SE Turkey

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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu (L) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ziya Pir

Amid news stories that a Turkish drone attack killed one civilian and wounded three others in Hakkari on Friday, pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ziya Pir said during a press conference on Monday that a statement by the interior minister is a blank check for more civilian killings by security forces in southeastern Turkey.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had on Saturday that said mistakes can be made in the fight against terrorists.

“We see a lot of terrorists. I mean, we see many terrorists with drones. We have never initiated an attack against someone who is not identified as a terrorist or a civilian together with a terrorist. But mistakes can be made,” Soylu said on Saturday concerning the drone attacks.

“What we understand from Süleyman Soylu’s statement is that the security forces can kill anyone during operations. No investigations will be launched in those cases. That is to say, Soylu has issued an blank check for civilian killings,” said HDP deputy Pir during a press conference broadcast on the HDP’s Twitter account on Monday.

According to local reports, four civilians were targeted by an armed Turkish drone near the village of Oğlu in Hakkari.

The governor of Hakkari claimed that the villagers were supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while a statement from the Interior Ministry said they were targeted while transporting livestock for the PKK.

The Turkish military started using armed drones against PKK guerrillas last year.

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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