Brussels, Belgium – At least 10 civilians injured in clashes have died in southeastern Turkey over the past two weeks because ambulances could not reach them to take them to hospitals.
The people have either bled to death on the street or in homes, or were admitted to hospitals only after it was too late – and residents fear there will be more deaths in the coming days.
The deaths have occurred since the Turkish government began enforcing a round-the-clock, open-ended curfew on Cizre, a majority-Kurdish town with a population of 120,000. Some have risked going outside to buy daily necessities, while carrying a white flag to show they are not a threat; others have remained holed-up indoors.
The Turkish government says the curfew, which has been in effect since December 14, is necessary in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that the Turkish government labels as “terrorists”. Human rights organisations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused Turkish security forces of using disproportionate violence in clashes with armed, PKK-affiliated young people in Cizre, noting that dozens of civilians have died as a result.