Kurds attempt to flee combat area in Turkey

SARAJEVO may seem distant from Kurdistan, but splintered Yugoslav and Soviet republics are springing to mind in Turkey as it treads ever-more dangerous ground in its Kurdish crisis.

The latest round of the eight-year-old insurgency of ethnic Kurds has caused the south-eastern Turkish provincial capital, Sirnak, to be abandoned by almost all its 25,000 Kurdish residents. 'The people of Sirnak are now lost to us,' said the Turkish governor of the town.

The dust of battle and propaganda is yet to lift after the 40 hours of bombardment around Sirnak between 18 and 20 August that damaged many houses. The government says its heavy shellfire was in response to an attack by at least 500 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels on Tuesday. The PKK has tried to distance itself from the action. There are no confirmed reports, but diplomats say about 18 people died, including 14 civilians.

The townspeople are now camped at relatives' houses or on a mountain road along the Iraqi border, adding to the steady de-population of the south-east that has occurred during the past eight years.

The repression of Kurds by Ankara hardly compares with the near-genocidal tactics practised over the border by Baghdad but, despite government claims to have crushed the PKK, the tempo never diminishes.

Several deaths per day are routine, and 4,400 people have died since the insurgency began in 1984. Just this week the PKK burned a train, hauled seven soldiers off a bus and shot them, and attacked an oil pipeline, factories and army outposts.

In response to the recent violence, military and political leaders held an emergency meeting yesterday in Diyarbakir, the regional centre of the south-east, an area that is home to half of Turkey's 12 million Kurds. Public statements reiterated more of the near-bankrupt carrot-and-stick policy pursued in recent years.

As the polarisation between Kurds and Turks grows, the Prime Minister, Suleyman Demirel's government has less and less room for manoeuvre. Some Turks, such as the 1980 coup leader and ex-president, Kenan Evren, say no more concessions should be made to Kurdish culture because 'Yugoslavia allowed education in everybody's language. It didn't change the result . . . we should use force.'

PARIS - Kurdish demonstrators occupied the State Secretariat for Humanitarian Action in Paris yesterday and said they were holding 15 staff to protest against Turkish repression of Kurdish rebels, Reuter reports. They are demanding that France condemn Turkish army attacks on the Kurdish town of Sirnak.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable