Ten villages in Turkey’s southeastern Bitlis (Bedlîs) province have been under a curfew since 2 July, trapping thousands of citizens in their homes and rendering them unable to tend to their fields or animals.
Villagers report not being given permission to take their sick to hospitals as the bombing of the rural area continues, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
The villagers were first allowed to step outside their homes on Wednesday. “We can only go out a couple of metres,” one villager said. “Our children are traumatised due to the bombs. This operation and the oppression aims to force people into joining the village guard.”
Population in the area has dwindled over the years, “because people sold their animals and left, as this region faces bans every year”, the villager said.
Currently, due to summer weather conditions, villagers not being able to tend to dried crops in fields both pose a fire hazard and put livestock at risk.
“People are imprisoned there,” Green Left Party (YSP) MP Hüseyin Olan told reporters. Fruit trees and crops in fields are trampled with large scale construction machines the army uses in the operation, he added.
A parliamentary committee will convene to visit the area, YSP MP Semra Çağlar Gökalp announced. “These curfews must be lifted immediately. Their only purpose is to create an aura of fear,” she said.
Past curfews that lasted for months on end have displaced at least 500,000 people from Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast, Olan said in a press conference at parliament earlier in the week. “Satellite images show entire neighbourhoods erased from the map,” the MP said. “The government must walk back this attitude at once.”
Olan cited a report by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that has documented torture, forced disappearance, incitement to hatred, violence against women, prevention of urgent medical care and other vital needs, and depriving people of food and water.