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Nov 11 2018

Turkey to testify in ECHR for Kurdish deaths during curfews in southeast

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will ask Turkish authorities to testify concerning the alleged human rights violations and killing of civilians by the Turkish army during the curfews imposed in Cizre district of the southeastern city of Şırnak, pro-Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya said. 

Turkish authorities declared military curfews in mostly Kurdish-populated southeastern provinces beginning from August 2015. The final curfew in Cizre lasted 79 days and ended on March 5, 2016. The majority of the district was demolished during the clashes between the Kurdish militia and the Turkish security forces. 

Security operations by the government affected more than 30 towns and neighbourhoods and displaced between 355,000 and half a million people, mostly of Kurdish origin, according to a report released by the United Nations. 

The very same report said up to 189 men, women and children were trapped for weeks in basements without water, food, medical attention and power before being killed by fire, induced by shelling. 

The ECHR published an announcement about the Cizre hearing on its website and said the cases of Ömer Elçi and Ahmet Tunç, both killed in the curfews, would take place on Nov. 13 in Strasbourg.  

Elçi and Tunç alongside with other civilians died in a basement of a building while waiting for medical aid to reach them. The security forces did not let the ambulances to enter the city, the human rights organisation said. 

The lawyer of the Tunç family, Ramazan Demir, told Mezopotamya that the court accepted two cases on Cizre, the first one concerns the legality of the curfews while the second case would focus on civilian killings.

If the court decides in favour of Tunç and Elçi cases, it would be a leading case for the other civilians who lost their lives and the curfews imposed by the Turkish states, Demir said.