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2020 | Nordic Monitor - Over 12,000 killed or wounded during Turkey’s security operations in Kurdish areas in 2015- 2016

This report by the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network, a non-profit organisation focussing on intelligence collection and monitoring of extremism, radical movements, xenophobia and terrorism, provides the latest data on Turkey’s security operations in various Kurdish provinces in the period of 2015-2016. Following the end of the peace process between the Kurdish fighters and the Turkish government in June 2015, hostilities between the two parties resumed with government military operations and round-the-clock curfews imposed on various towns and neighbourhoods in Southeast Turkey. 1.8 million local residents were affected by these operations and their human rights were violated. However, the Turkish government has prevented independent investigations into the alleged human rights infringements.

The article does not indicate the exact number of civilian casualties caused by the military operations, but shows that all local residents who were killed were considered terrorists by the Turkish government. According to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), 7.869 individuals, including PKK militants and civilians, were killed by the security forces between July 2015 and June 2016, while 520 members of the security forces, comprising soldiers, police and village guards, were confirmed dead. This article also provides tables revealing the number of wounded and dead security forces and soldiers during each curfew in each of the affected provinces and towns in this period.

Taking into account the number of casualties during the hostilities in Southeast Turkey, the conflict has likely developed into a non-international armed conflict (NIAC), thus triggering the application of international humanitarian law (IHL). Since civilians and civilian objects are protected from being attacked under IHL, warring parties may be held accountable for the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity when civilians are targetted. Civilians whose rights are breached during the NIAC, in principle have a legal right to reparations, including prompt and impartial investigations into the factual circumstances, guarantees of non-repetition, as well as compensation.