Since December 27, six Kurdish civilians – Yasin Ozer, 19, Baris Dalmis, 15, Zeki Alar, 32, Musa Azma, 16, Umit Kurt, 14, and Nihat Kazanhan, 12 – have been killed in the Kurdish province of Sirnak in Turkey. Only one of these victims was not a teenager – unless you count Nihat Kazanhan, who had not yet even become a teenager and who now will never be one.
And these deaths happened not during an armed conflict between the PKK and the Turkish army, but rather while a so-called “peace process” is taking place between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is incarcerated in Imrali Prison.
The Dicle News Agency reported on December 27 that security forces, individuals in civilian dress, purportedly some members of the Hur Dava, or Free Cause Party, which is an Islamist party, and various sharpshooters opened fire indiscriminately on the residents of the Nur neighborhood of the Cizre town of Sirnak.
The dead that day included Yasin Ozer, 19, Baris Dalmis, 15, and Zeki Alar, 32. At least 10 were wounded.
The Human Rights Association (IHD) in Sirnak reported that “special operations units and a group of civilians led by an armored police vehicle and accompanied by sharpshooters located on the top floor of the provincial directorate of culture attacked civilians in their homes in the Nur neighborhood.”
The report added, “In both this incident and other incidents, police intervened wantonly and frequently with pepper gas and without showing the least regard for women, children, shopkeepers, or civilians. The police shooting randomly destroyed any kind of public order. Police vehicles played loud, aggressive marches, such as ‘I’ll die for you, Turkey.’ They often stress Turkishness, while making degrading insults about Kurds. This provokes people and paves the way for further incidents.”
The violent police crackdown on Kurdish activists left a youth dead in the Silopi town of Sirnak as well. To protest the deadly attacks in Cizre, activists in Silopi closed a local road to traffic on December 27. The police responded with gas bombs, pepper gas and live ammunition.
During the police crackdown, Musa Azma, 16, was shot by a police bullet while watching the incidents from the balcony of his house. Azma was treated in the intensive care unit for six days, but he died on January 3.
On January 6, Umit Kurt, 14, was shot dead by an armored police vehicle in Cizre. His father Abdullah Kurt said that his son lay bleeding for half an hour after being shot in the street.
Kurt also criticized the confidentiality order issued on the investigation launched about his son’s death, saying that “the confidentiality order means that the perpetrators will be acquitted.”
And on January 14, Nihat Kazanhan, 12, was shot in the head and died. His uncle, Yusuf Kazanhan, told Radikal Daily: “There had been no incidents in the neighborhood. Nihat went outside to meet with his friends. Some time later, we were informed that he had been shot and hospitalized. Witnesses said that an armored vehicle opened fire at Nihat while it was going through the beltway.”
And on January 15, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu likened what he said were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “crimes against humanity” to the actions of the terrorists in Paris.
Ironically, however, Hamas does not allow a single Jew to live in Gaza and publicly calls for terrorism and genocide against the Jews. Also, Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party keeps praising terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, but the authorities of both groups are hosted and supported by Turkey’s government, which considers itself to be an EU candidate, although it kills Kurdish civilians daily.
Peace between Israel and Gaza as well as the West Bank would be easy if only Palestinian leaders also wanted peace as much as the state of Israel does. It is hard to make peace with groups who openly state that they wish to see you dead.
Peace between Turkey and the Kurds, however, is harder, because Kurds are still being killed even during a so-called “peace process,” which was reportedly started between Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, and the AKP government in 2012.
This “peace process” has not improved the human rights of Kurds in Turkey. It has brought almost nothing but death and prison for them. During the violent conflicts between the PKK and the Turkish army, Kurdish civilians including children are murdered. And during the current “peace process,” nothing seems to have changed; Kurds are still murdered brutally. And no perpetrator is brought to justice, which leads the way for more violence and killings.
Faysal Sariyildiz, a Kurdish member of parliament for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), reported that, “During the last year, regarding the Kurdish issue, 3,490 people have been taken into custody, 880 people have been arrested and 25 people have lost their lives.”
Neither Kurdish nor Jewish lives seem to matter much to the Turkish government.
The writer is a Turkish journalist.