Officials implement 30-day protest ban in Turkey’s Tunceli province

The Governor’s Office of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority eastern province of Tunceli has banned protests for a month citing increasing calls from “terrorist sympathisers’’ during a paused Kurdish offensive in northeast Syria targeting Kurdish forces. 

All protests and gatherings deemed inappropriate by the Tunceli Governor’s Office will be banned between Oct. 18-Nov. 16, independent news site Diken reported a statement by the office as saying on Saturday.

“A group of people who are terrorist organisation sympathisers are calling for protests in reaction to the ongoing offensive,’’ the statement said, in an apparent reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

The ban arrives following a deal between Washington and Ankara on Thursday for a five-day pause to Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria. The incursion, launched on Oct. 9, targets the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey sees as an offshoot of the PKK. The PKK is an armed group fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for over three decades.

The ban includes marches, press releases, gatherings, sit-in protests, hunger strikes, commemorations, distribution of leaflets and conferences, Diken said.