Skip to main content

Turkey imposes curfews in Kurdish-majority province

The Diyarbakir governor's office said a total of 176 curfews had been imposed in the province

Turkish anti-riot police officer stands guard as HDP members call a protest against Turkey's 'Olive Branch' operation in Syria on 21 January in Diyarbakir (AFP)

Turkey on Wednesday imposed curfews in dozens of villages and towns in Diyarbakir province in the Kurdish-majority southeast, in anticipation of a new operation against Kurdish militants inside the country.

The Diyarbakir governor's office said a total of 176 curfews had been imposed in the province, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is known to be active.

"A curfew is in place from Wednesday 0800 (0500 GMT) until a second announcement is made" in the villages and towns in the districts of Silvan, Kulp, Lice and Hazro, it said in a statement.

It said the curfews will allow security forces to "neutralise" members and collaborators of the "separatist terrorist organisation" - Turkey's official term for the PKK.

The PKK has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 but fighting has intensified in the region since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in 2015.

The group is blacklisted as a terror organisation by Ankara, the United States and the European Union. Over 40,000 people have been killed in the three-decade conflict.

After the collapse of the ceasefire, Turkish authorities imposed months-long curfews in many southeastern areas as part of their operations against the PKK. 

Although the Turkish authorities insist most of these operations are over, they regularly take measures including a two-day curfew imposed in 60 villages in Diyarbakir earlier this month.

The new curfews come after Turkey launched a cross-border offensive against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria.

Ankara says the YPG is a "terrorist" offshoot of the PKK but the militia has been working closely with the US against the Islamic State group in Syria.