Residents of villages in the Lice district of Turkey’s south-eastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) explained the moments of the military raids on their homes to MPs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) visiting them, according to Mesopotamia Agency’s report.There had been one death and 3 injured soldiers in the clashes between the Peoples’ Defence Units (HPG) and the Turkish army in the Lice district of Diyarbakır (Amed) on 9 January 2020.
Following the clashes and the assaults launched by the Turkish Army on villages in the region, access to those villages were closed by the soldiers. Meanwhile, civilians in the area have reportedly been banned from leaving their homes. According to other claims, soldiers raided some villages and tortured the inhabitants. Other villages have reportedly been encircled by armoured vehicles.
It has also been claimed that civilians have been threatened with death and two villagers have been detained. The Diyarbakır Governorate issued a statement regarding the claims of torture, denying all claims.
A HDP committee visited Lice
The HDP’s Diyarbakır office organised a visit to Lice in order to investigate the numerous claims of mistreatment of the villagers.
HDP MP’s Semra Güzel and Remziye Tosun visited the families, but the MP’s were also stopped at the entrance of the Bağlan neighhborhood by soldiers and they were subjected to police radio checks.
As they finally passed through the military blockade, they visited the family of Mehmet Şah Bozkuş, a villager who was detained and sent to prison.
Turkish Soldiers: ‘We will come to get you tomorrow’
Seçil Bozkuş, the daughter of Mehmet Şah Bozkuş, explained the exact moments of the raid to the HDP Committee. “Our village was blockaded by the soldiers and our garden was searched. The soldiers tried to force us to be agents working for the state’s intelligence service. Then they asked for a cup of tea. We were so afraid that we served them the tea. After they drank our tea, they told us ‘We will come to get you tomorrow’,” Bozkuş said.
She then spoke about the violence they faced when the soldiers returned and raided their home the very next day. “They raided our home the next day, accusing our family of ‘being a home for terrorists’. Then they took my mother (Azize Bozkuş) to the military vehicle and they made our whole family sit on the cold concrete ground, our hands raised behind our necks. Since my father is heavily sick, he fainted but they detained my father claiming that he helped someone who was in the armed clash with soldiers,” she said.
Soldiers threatened the villagers
The HDP committee also visited the families of three other villagers, Sıddık Özkan (63), Ferhat Özkan ve Ömer Yıldırım, who were detained in Lice’s Dibek Neighborhood.
The relatives of Özkan stated, “Tens of soldiers blockaded our village. During the night a military operation was launched, the soldiers checked each villager’s ID’s for police radio checks/. In the morning of the military operation, the soldiers raided our home and our neighbor’s home. ‘We have martyrs, we will not let you get away with it,’ the soldiers threatened us.”