Turkey’s Human Rights Association publishes report on under-siege Kurdish village

Turkey’s Human Rights Organisation (IHD) has published its report of the incidents of the last 14 days in the under-siege Kurdish village of Korukoy in the district of Nusaybin of eastern city Mardin.

The report, based on witness statements and observations, states that a committee consisting of lawyers, activists and deputies was blocked from entering the village by the Turkish security forces.

A villager who was allowed to leave Korukoy on the sixth day of the curfew due to his health problems talked to the committee.

The villager said: “On 11 February, we heard helicopter sounds at 7.30 pm. At 8:30 pm, the muhtar (referring to the elected head of the village) announced through the mosque’s speakers that soldiers came to the village and that we weren’t allowed to go outside until the next morning. The army’s operations began immediately and the soldiers raided houses. They took people to a field, including a 73 year-old-man, and tortured and abused them. A woman was shocked after the incidents and her nose started to bleed. The soldiers allowed for her to go to the hospital when her condition worsened. The woman has two daughters aged 12 and 14. They took her daughters as hostages and said ‘they will stay here to serve us’.

“There was no clashes at the beginning, it started six days after the curfew was declared. Thus, the killings began, too. We identified three people from the photos,” he added. According to the report, the witnesses also said that they could not reach any one in the village by phone.

The village is in danger of an epidemic breaking out because of the lack of clean water, the report said. The committee claimed that they tried to visit the governor and the local authorities many times but they were not welcomed.

The village Korukoy (Xerabe Bava in Kurdish) was a restricted district in 1995 because of the conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government. Witnesses say, two villagers were killed and all the inhabitants were forced to migrate for refusing to become village guards (a paramilitary force organised by the state) in 1995. The government reopened the village for settlement in 2002.

The report also raises concern for the health of vulnerable villagers like the elderly and young children. Abdullah Dogan (64), Osman Dogan (19), Vedat Dogan (16) and another teenage boy – later released after four days for being under age -, Gulbahar Toy (40), Neriman Gungor (40) -released after having an heart attack- , and another woman named only as Bayhan (40) were taken into custody, according to the report.

The report also gave information about the allegedly tortured man Abdi Aykut. Aykut was hospitalised after he was beaten and tortured severely, the report said. One of Abdi Aykut’s neighbours said that he heard a Turkish commander saying ‘take this man to hospital, I am not sure if he is going to live or not.’

Aykut’s wife stated that her son went to the hospital but was prevented from seeing his father. Aykut’s current situation remains unknown as opposition deputies brought up his situation in parliament today.