Turkey to partly lift curfew in Kurdish town
The Turkish authorities Tuesday announced the partial lifting of a curfew in a town in the country`s Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Diyarbakir: The Turkish authorities Tuesday announced the partial lifting of a curfew in a town in the country`s Kurdish-dominated southeast, in force since December as part of a major crackdown on rebels.
The army and police closed access to the town of Cizre, near the border with Syria and Iraq, in mid-December as a military offensive was launched against rebels from the banned Kurdistan Worker`s Party (PKK).
"The curfew will be lifted each day from 5:00 am (0300 GMT) to 7:30 pm and will be in force from 7:30 pm to 5:00 am," the governor`s office in Sirnak province said in a statement.
The change will take effect from Wednesday.
Turkish authorities imposed curfews in Cizre and other towns in the southeast in a bid to root out PKK rebels from urban centres where they had erected barricades and dug trenches.
The military said Friday that 666 "terrorists" had been "neutralised" in Cizre during the offensive, which officially ended last month. Dozens of police and soldiers have also been killed.
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey said last week that at least 178 civilians had been killed in the clashes, while the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples` Democracy Party (HDP) accused the government of a "massacre" in the city -- firmly rejected by Ankara.
The army and special police units have carried out similar operations in Silopi, near Cizre, and in the historic Sur district of Diyarbakir, the main city of the southeast.
On Tuesday Diyabakir provincial governor Huseyin Aksoy said "98 percent" of six neighbourhoods in Sur still under curfew had been "cleaned".
Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan told AFP the government had "done what was necessary to restore public order" and operations had been carried out "within the law and with maximum sensitivity to avoid putting the population in danger".
The PKK has killed dozens of members of the Turkish security forces in bomb and gunfire attacks since a two-and-a-half-year truce collapsed in July.
Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding an independent state for Kurds. Since then the group has narrowed its demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights.