Amnesty International on Tuesday called on Turkey to compensate and allow 24,000 people displaced under a curfew to return to their districts of the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir.
Turkish authorities imposed strict round-the-clock curfews in a number of urban centers in the southeast ravaged by the resumption in July 2015 of violence between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces.
The historic Sur district of Diyarbakir — a UNESCO world heritage site with its ancient fortified walls, historic mosques, churches and synagogues — is one of them.
The curfew began in December 2015 in 11 neighborhoods of Sur, later affecting 15 neighborhoods at its January peak. The measure is still in place in six neighborhoods as the authorities seek to eradicate any PKK presence.
All of the nearly 24,000 residents of the six neighborhoods of Sur have left their homes, Amnesty said in its report. In total, half a million people have been displaced by fighting across the southeast, it said.
The displaced residents’ right to return to their homes appears to be “in grave danger” due to curfews, damaged infrastructure and demolitions, Amnesty said.
It urged the authorities to “lift the curfew without delay” and take steps to ensure the displaced people’s return to their homes.
“People were forced to leave their homes with a short notice,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey Researcher, told AFP in an interview in Istanbul.
“They need to be compensated for the loss of their possessions but also for the loss of their livelihoods because when they lost their homes, they also lost their jobs in a great number of cases,” he added.