Claim: Turkey seeks cleaning out of Kurdish population

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Claim: Turkey seeks cleaning out of Kurdish population

2016-02-09 08:20 GMT
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William Jones, member of Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, claims Turkey trying to clean out Kurdish population

On 3 February 2016, Iran’s state-owned English language broadcaster Press TV published an interview under the headline “Turkey seeks to clean out Kurdish population” about Turkey’s ongoing battle with the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terrorist group with William Jones, a member of the Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, claiming that “Turkey is involved in something of a genocidal war against the Kurds.”1

Firstly, a point that needs to be emphasised is that the PKK (which is listed as a terror organization by Turkey, the EU, the US and NATO) is not a movement which aims to gain rights for the Kurdish people, nor is its Marxist-Leninist ideology which it seeks to establish in Kurdish dominated regions adopted by the majority of the Kurds, who are also victims of PKK violence.

Since the 30-year-old conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK resumed on 24 July 2015 following a two-year ceasefire, most of the fighting has not affected the majority of Kurdish civilians in the country. Fighting has been taking place in eight PKK strongholds in southeastern Turkey, where the group has set up barricades and dug trenches for launching attacks on Turkish security forces.

Some of these areas are very small districts like Sur (with a population less than 120,000) or Dargecit (with a population of around 28,000).2 The total population of the areas in which PKK militants are active (Nusaybin, Lice, Sur, Silopi, Cizre, Silvan, Dargecit, Semdinli and Bismil) is less than 500,000. The majority of the people living in the affected regions have temporarily left their houses for safety. For example, almost 100,000 people left the Cizre district, where PKK militants are active.

While the Kurdish dominated regions of Turkey are located in the east and southeast of Anatolia with a total of 23 cities, Kurdish people are in fact scattered all around Turkey. For example, 17.5 percent of the total Kurdish population live in Istanbul. Furthermore, there is an estimated 14 to 22.5 million Kurdish people living all around the country, so only a minority of Kurds have actually been affected by the fighting.3 4

Notably, it is the PKK that has been targeting public places like schools or hospitals in their attacks. For example, on 22 October 2015, PKK militants detonated a vehicle carrying explosives in the southeastern city of Turkey Semdinli, which is mainly populated by Kurdish civilians. According to reports, a number of houses, workplaces and vehicles were also damaged in the explosion, as well as a hospital building.5

In addition, the PKK has made itself dominant by annihilating the other pro-Kurdish political movements and actors in the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. Kemal Burkay, another pro-Kurdish politician and the former president of the HAK-PAR (The Rights and Freedoms Party), said in an interview with the nationwide broadcaster Bugun TV in 2013 that the PKK’s violence towards the other Kurdish politicians can be traced back to 1980s.