Thousands flee mainly Kurdish district in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey -- Thousands of people fled a district of the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday after authorities fighting Kurdish militants there expanded a 24-hour curfew to include five more neighbourhoods.

See Full Article

Meanwhile, three soldiers were killed in an attack in Diyarbakir's historic Sur district, which has been under a curfew since December as the security forces battle Kurdish militants who are linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.The private Dogan news agency reported heavy fighting in Sur, where the military says at least 134 militants have been killed since December.

A statement from the local administrator's office for Sur said the curfew -- which bars residents from leaving homes and observers or journalists from entering to monitor the fighting -- was enlarged to enable the security forces to "restore public order" in neighbourhoods where the militants had allegedly dug trenches and set barricades and explosive devices.

Authorities have been imposing curfews in towns and districts to flush militants from urban areas in Turkey's mostly Kurdish southeast since the collapse of a peace process with the PKK in July. The Turkish Human Rights Foundation says at least 198 civilians, including 39 children, have died in combat areas under curfew since August.

Legislators from Turkey's pro-Kurdish party said Wednesday more than 20 people wounded in the conflict were awaiting medical care, trapped for the past three days in the basement of a building in the town of Cizre, which is also under curfew. Leyla Birlik, legislator for Sirnak province where Cizre is located, said five other people had died in the basement and their bodies had not been removed.

Turkey's Health Ministry said Wednesday authorities were unable to send ambulances to the location citing ongoing attacks by the militants as well as the trenches, the barricades and land mines in the town. It said authorities had asked that the wounded be transported to a safe area that ambulances have access to and claimed that the wounded or their relatives were refusing to co-operate.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch raised concerns over the civilian casualties, faulting the government for not releasing numbers or facilitating urgent medical evacuations for trapped civilians.

"Many people have died in circumstances which are extremely difficult to scrutinize because of the curfews" and a broader crackdown on the media, said HRW senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair-Webb.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told parliament Tuesday the security forces were taking utmost care to "distinguish between the terror organization and the civilians and to ensure that the battle is being waged within the rule of law."

An Associated Press journalist on Wednesday witnessed more than 2,000 people leaving Sur as the expanded curfew was announced. People were seen moving bedding, heaters and washing machines on carts, pulling suitcases and carrying cages with their pet canaries.

Mehmet Karatay, 55, said he moved to Sur in the early 1990s after the security forces burned down several villages in the southeast as part of the battle against the PKK.

"I have 10 children," Karatay said. "There are thousands of miserable people like me. Where will we be going from now on?" he asked as he left Sur.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • B.C. man pleads guilty in brutal attack of 16-year-old girl

    Canada News CTV News
    WARNING: Details included in this story may be disturbing to some readers. A B.C. man has pleaded guilty to several charges in the case of a 16-year-old girl who was tied up, beaten and sexually assaulted during a two-day ordeal in 2014. Source
  • Out-of-town Crown named to case against Ottawa officer charged in death of Abdi

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Ontario government has named a Toronto-based Crown attorney to prosecute the case against an Ottawa police officer charged in the death of a Somali-Canadian man during a confrontation with two constables outside his home last summer. Source
  • No LGBT category in 2020 U.S. Census proposal

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Census Bureau did not include a separate count of LGBTQ Americans in its proposal for the 2020 Census. The category had been sought by gay rights advocates. The bureau counts Americans according to race, gender and other characteristics. Source
  • 'Take your hate elsewhere': Woman confronts protesters at Toronto-area school board meeting

    Canada News CTV News
    A video posted on social media showed a Toronto-area school board meeting erupting into rage as some attendees shouted Islamophobic comments and one man ripped pages out of the Qur’an. The cell phone video, recorded by Syed Imam and posted on his Facebook page, shows a Peel District School Board meeting last week, when one of the agenda items was religious accommodation for students in schools. Source
  • Pot legalization: What will it mean for schools?

    Canada News CBC News
    The revelation that the federal government will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018 has sparked a flurry of speculation about possible implications. But those imagining a disastrous Canada-wide increase in high school students showing up stoned in classrooms need not worry, school boards say. Source
  • Missing man killed, swallowed whole by python

    World News Toronto Sun
    WARNING: Video shows graphic footage. JAKARTA, Indonesia — A 25-year-old Indonesian man has been swallowed whole by a python on the island of Sulawesi, villagers and news reports said. A six-minute video on the website of the Tribun Timur publication shows villagers slicing open the python’s carcass to reveal the legs and torso of the dead victim, named Akbar. Source
  • Britain files Brexit divorce from the European Union

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — The United Kingdom filed for divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, overturning four decades of integration with its neighbours, demolishing the notion that EU expansion is inevitable and shaking the foundations of a bloc that is facing challenges to its identity and its place in the world. Source
  • VIA Rail's $150 cross-Canada pass unavailable online

    Canada News CTV News
    A Via Rail promotion offering young passengers unlimited Canada-wide travel for $150 appears derailed, as the passes are temporarily unavailable online. The Canada 150 Pass was not available for purchase on Via Rail's website Wednesday. Source
  • Canadian guilty of insulting Turkey's president, released pending appeal

    Canada News CTV News
    A Canadian woman detained in Turkey has been found guilty of insulting the country's president, but said she has been released from prison as her lawyer pursues an appeal of the case. Ece Heper said she is happy to be out of prison, where she had been held since late December after being charged for comments she wrote about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media. Source
  • High demand halts sale of $150 cross-Canada VIA Rail passes

    Canada News CTV News
    A VIA Rail promotion offering young passengers unlimited Canada-wide travel for $150 has gone off the rails, with sales temporarily suspended due to a technical issue triggered by "high demand." The Canada 150 Pass was not available for purchase on Via Rail's website Wednesday, due to what the website called "technical difficulties. Source