Turkish troops attack civilians trying to stop military operation
HAKKARİ (DİHA) - Turkish soldiers have attacked a group of civilians who headed to the İspiriz Mountains in the Kurdish province of Hakkari to stop a planned military operation there. 13 have been arrested, with one civilian struck in the head by a gas canister.
When Turkish soldiers started mobilizing for a military operation against Kurdish guerrillas in the district of Yüksekova, in eastern province of Hakkari, local villagers and citizens from nearby Yüksekova and Şemdinli headed for the mountain to stop the operation. Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Hakkari Deputy Candidate Abdullah Zeydan and directors from the HDP and Democratic Regions Party (DBP) were among the group of around 2,000 civilians who climbed the mountain.
One wounded, 13 detained
Soldiers attacked the group of civilian with gas canisters, wounding a man named Levent Dere with a gas bomb to the head. The civilians evacuated Levent down the mountain for treatment in a hospital in Yüksekova. 13 of the civilians were arrested in the nearby village of Dedeler.
Military operations ongoing
In spite of the ceasefire that Kurdish PKK guerrillas have maintained for several years, Turkish military mobilizations have been increasing in recent months. Many Kurds say it is an attempt to generate clashes with guerrillas and win votes for the ruling AKP party in the run-up to Turkey's June 7 election.
To stop the provocations, groups of civilians have started heading into rural areas when they observe soldiers beginning to mobilize near known guerrilla-held territory, with the goal of putting themselves between the two sides and stopping clashes from occurring.
Soldiers shot and killed a civilian, former local HDP official Cezmi Budak, in April for taking part in one such "human shield" action designed to stop a planned military operation in Ağrı province. Two guerrillas of People's Defense Forces (HPG) also died in the clash at Mountain Tendürek.