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Fears Grow Turkey Will Intensify Crackdown on Kurds

  • Dorian Jones

Riot police use water cannon as demonstrators throw fireworks during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the Kurdish dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 8, 2015.

Riot police use water cannon as demonstrators throw fireworks during a protest against the curfew in Sur district, in the Kurdish dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 8, 2015.

Despite seven deaths Monday in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast the Turkish government has promised no let up in security operations against the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Turkey will take the fight to Kurdish militants to prevent them from “spreading fire."

Senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair Webb of the U.S. based Human Rights Watch has recently visited the center of the conflict in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

"People are just desperate; they are just very afraid people. Certainly the crackdown over the last three months is far worse than anything we have seen in more than a decade. It is taking place in the center of towns. It is completely disproportionate. We are extremely worried some of the killings we have seen are the result of indiscriminate fire by security forces," said Webb.

Four major towns and cities are under curfew, while a Turkish human rights group says more than 55 curfew orders have been enforced since the eruption of fighting since the collapse of a ceasefire with the Kurdish rebel group, the PKK in July.

Co-leader of the pro Kurdish Peace Democracy Party, Figen Yuksekdag, says 83 civilians have been killed in the renewed fighting, more than 200,000 people have been forcibly displaced and one million more have been affected.

But with thousands of teachers being sent out of the region, and local media reports claiming hospitals are being told to expand their morgue facilities, speculation is growing that the crackdown is about to intensify.

Global Source Partners consultant Atilla Yesilada says the government is now seeking a military solution to the decades long conflict with the PKK.

"They think they can win this war. This no limits war against PKK in Turkey, several cities are under lock down. We receive reports large numbers of terrorists are being killed. God knows if they are terrorists or just poor people killed in crossfire. There is no accountability," said Yesilada.

But Prime Minister Davutoglu insists all his government is seeking to to do is restore peace and stability to the region, and prevent the chaos of Syria from spreading to Turkey.

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