Claim: Military operations in Silopi leave people hungry, thirsty and desperate

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Claim: Military operations in Silopi leave people hungry, thirsty and desperate

2016-02-01 01:21 GMT
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Can Merey claims in DPA that military operations in Silopi leave people hungry, thirsty and desperate

Security forces visit houses in Silopi and deliver supply packages

On 20 January 2016, Can Merey published an article in the DPA (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), largest German news agency, about the military operations ongoing in Turkey’s Silopi, Sirnak.1 In the article titled “Hungrig, durstig, verzweifelt (Hungry, Thirsty, Desperate)”, Merey claimed that police special forces are damaging Silopi, killing the civilians and leaving inconvenient notes behind. He also alleged that people suffer from hunger and thirst because of operations. Merey wrote:
Turkish Special Forces were settled here during the offensive against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). The uninvited visitors have left notes behind. On one: "You, your brains are washed." The other messages are so nasty that it is better not to mention them here.
During the curfew, the shops were closed. Asan states that people have maintained their lives by drinking tea and eating dry bread "so dry that we would feed animals" for five weeks. She said that families collected rain drops in pots to obtain drinking water and added that “We were hungry, we were thirsty, we were desperate”.
However, the article fails to mention the events giving rise to military operations in Silopi. The Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) is the PKK’s urban youth branch engaged in armed clashes with the police in the town. The group dug trenches, erected barricades and placed improvised explosive devices to stop the police from entering neighborhoods. On 7 August 2015, police entering the city to dismantle barricades and fill trenches were attacked by PKK militants armed with heavy weapons.2 Police as well as civilians were injured during clashes.On 12 August 2015, the PKK's umbrella group the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) declared self-rule in Silopi.3 On 10 November 2015, the PKK carried out an attack with heavy weaponry targeting an armored police vehicle where three police were killed.4 After the PKK increased its attacks, military operations started in Cizre and Silopi on 16 December 2015.5 During the operations, 11 improvised explosive devices and four shotguns were seized.
Merey’s other claims were regarding inconvenient writings on the walls in the areas of operation. Celalettin Lekesiz, Director General of Public Security, issued a circular to directors of public security in 81 cities.6 In the circular, the introduction of a prosecution against the police writing inconvenient messages on the walls of the city was demanded. Prosecution against these officers have started.
The article also claims that people suffer from hunger and thirst because of ongoing operations. However, curfews have been declared to protect civilians from being caught in the crossfire. Measurements were taken to hold the locals harmless from the operations including the distribution of food packages. In Cudi neighborhood, security forces distributed supply packages by visiting the houses individually with armored vehicles. They also listened to the demands of the people. The police have also been helping people leaving their homes for security reasons. 119 people living close to the areas of clashes were moved from the area by the police.7
Throughout the operations, 800 improvised explosive devices were defused, 270 trenches were covered and 535 barricades were removed.8