US blames PKK for displacement of civilians in Turkey

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Children on the streets of Cizre after a curfew was lifted following clashes between Turkish forces and PKK-affliated rebels. File photo

ARA News

Erbil – The US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark C. Toner on Thursday blamed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for displacing civilians, although Amnesty International in a recent report blamed the Turkish government for displacing over half million people in the Kurdish region southeast Turkey.

“We’ve seen this report from Amnesty International. We’ve expressed our grave concern regarding the violence in southeast Turkey and we would urge the PKK to lay down its arms so that Turks forced from their homes to flee the violence can safely return home,” Toner said.

“We’ve said repeatedly we stand by Turkey in the fight against terror in all of its forms, and that includes against the PKK. And as Turkey’s friend and ally, we urge the Government of Turkey to ensure that the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms are protected,” he said.

The US state department spokesperson blamed the PKK for the displacement instead of the Turkish army that have destroyed many Kurdish cities in the fighting with PKK youth militias and displaced over half a million Kurds.

“Many of the Turks forced to flee their homes have done so as a result of PKK violence,” Toner said.

On Thursday, Elizabeth Trudeau, the director of the State Department’s press office said something similar.

“We’ve been very clear about our concern over the fate of the residents of Sur and other cities in Turkey’s southeast whose lives have been profoundly affected by the violence between the PKK and Turkish security forces,” she said. “We note again, as we’ve said several times, the PKK is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. We call, again, for the PKK to lay down its arms, and we ask the Turkish Government to respond in ways that reinforce the rule of law and they also respect fundamental freedoms,” she stated.

“The question is the impact on the residents of the area. I’m not going to call out any particular group, but we have been very clear about our concern on all residents of that area because of this fighting. I’m not going to characterize it. I’d let Amnesty speak to their own report,” Trudeau stated.

A report released by Amnesty on Tuesday accused Turkey of collectively displacing Kurds.

“Shockingly, the desperate situation facing the displaced residents of Sur is mirrored in dozens of other districts across south-east Turkey. The government must act urgently to lift the curfew, ensure affected communities are fully compensated and either helped to return to what remains of their homes or, at the very least, to their neighbourhoods,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

Following the breakdown of a ceasefire in July 2015, clashes broke out between youth groups affiliated to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces leading to the displacement of thousands of civilians and human rights abuses by the Turkish security forces.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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