Over the last few months, long-term and consecutive curfews have been declared across the eastern provinces of Turkey. The affected provinces are Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, Sur and Dargeçit.
Violations of civil rights have emerged as a major concern during the curfews. The civilian population has become a target for snipers and weaponry according to human rights observers. The number of civilian casualties has been steadily increasing since the decades long conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state was reignited last year.
Human rights organizations prepared reports citing the number of internally displaced people as upwards of 1,3 million people, and more than 150 people have lost their lives in this worrying escalation of conflict. They have also reported that the violation of civil rights in the region is not subject to any legal supervision.
Human Rights Watch’s senior Turkey researcher, Emma Sinclair-Webb, said that “the Turkish government should rein in its security forces, immediately stop abusive and disproportionate use of force, and investigate the deaths and injuries caused by its operations.”
Meanwhile journalists are being prevented from entering the provinces due to ongoing curfews. Freedom of communication has been massively restricted and most of the region is suffering from a media black-out.
Education has been suspended following the state’s decision to send teachers away from the region. Health services have also been ceased, leaving citizens vulnerable and alone. The mainstream media’s coverage is mostly polarizing and increases hate speech against people who have been targeted by disproportionate use of force.
Amidst this political crisis, solidarity demonstrations have taken place in various spots across the country; most recently in Ankara. The protests against state violence in Turkey started on January 5 and have been taking place in consecutive waves. The purpose of the protests held in Ankara is to raise awareness and spread solidarity to other regions. The campaign’s hashtag is DirenişeSesVer, which is translated as ShoutOutForResistance.
The protestors gathered on Konur Street in Ankara with their pots and pans as well as whistle blowers. They wrote Ses Ver, setting candles across the street. Musicians sang songs in order to garner attention on what has been happening in the region.
One protestors said ‘‘After the Ankara bombing, people have hesitated to come together to protest, we should get over these hesitations and shout out for solidarity with the people targeted by the government in the east provinces.’’
The protests will continue until January 11. In the following weeks, on Fridays, protestors plan to gather and shout out for resistance.