‘Turkish Kurds trapped in Cizre victims of brutal state terror’

A women and her children stand in the ruins of battle-damaged house in the Kurdish town of Silopi, in southeastern Turkey, near the border with Iraq on January 19, 2016. © Ilyas Akengin
The question whether there are militants in the Turkish city of Cizre is totally irrelevant because all people need access to the medical treatment whatever their status, Hisyar Ozsoy of Turkey’s Peoples' Democratic Party told RT.

READ MORE: Death toll rises among Kurds trapped in Turkey’s southeastern Cizre district amid govt crackdown

RT: One of your colleagues has been in touch with those trapped in the building through text messages. Are there any updates on their conditions?

Hisyar Ozsoy: There was some communication with the wounded people who are trapped in the basement, but for the last 32 hours we have lost communication with them and we really don’t know what is happening there now. Some Turkish physicians tried to enter the city to get these wounded people to the hospital; they were denied entry. We are still in communication with the Ministry of the Interior, but so far we didn’t get any positive results. Those people are there, and it has been nine days so far, and there were a total of 28 wounded people and seven of them died in this process – who were denied access to the hospitals. The crisis is going on and it is deepening.

RT: How do we know for sure that ambulances are being blocked from accessing those trapped?

HO: They are sending the ambulances to some place; say 200 meters away from the basement. Yet, when the ambulances arrive at the location, the Turkish security forces start shooting, they start shelling, and they are doing heavy bombardments, they are using tanks and all kinds of heavy artillery, and that is why the people can’t come out – that is the main problem. So our main demand was to make a ceasefire just for one hour or two hours so that people can go in and take those people out. But what they are saying is that people should come out and carry the wounded to the ambulances under that heavy fire. That is the main problem now. They are refusing to stop even for one minute. The ambulances were there, they went there, but unfortunately the security forces are not listening to the orders of the ministry. That is the other side of the story.

RT: Is there any evidence that the militia are in the building with them? Is that the reason why the Turkish authorities are targeting that building?

HO: We need to clarify this. The information that we have is that all those people who are there are civilians and they are wounded. Even if there is some militia there wounded, they have the right to get some treatment. The job of the security forces is not to kill people, it is to take them first to the hospital and if they have an issue with the law, then they need to take them to the court.

The information that we have is that they are all civilians. Even if the claim of the state is correct, even if there are some militants or militia there, they can’t do extrajudicial killings.

Regardless of their identity, all of these people need access to the hospitals, and it is the state’s responsibility to first make sure that these people are healthy. After that if these people have some problems with the law, then after they get the treatment, after they feel better, then they can take them to the court or wherever they want. They are doing this propaganda to criminalize those people.

The people who are dying there – one of the last ones was a female college student. We have their names, and we gave all those names to the minister of interior and to the local people, the local governors – they all know about the identity of these people. So because they are not sending the ambulance, they are simply blaming the wounded people; the question ‘whether there are any militia or militants in the basement’ is a totally irrelevant question. 

RT: President Recep Erdogan has accused the hunger striking MP's from your party, of serving terrorists. What's your response to that?

HO: Recently, 1,120 academics signed a petition and they were mainly asking for resuming the peace process and they were criticizing the plan and the deliberate massacre of the Kurdish people. What Erdogan said about them is very interesting; he invented a new term for them, which is ‘academic terror.’ For Erdogan, anybody who is critical of his ideas is a terrorist. So it is not really an important argument even to talk about. Whatever we do, we are being criminalized as supporting the terrorist. What we have now in Kurdistan is clearly a case of brutal state terror.

RT: Do you think this incident will put pressure on the Turkish government and perhaps change things?

HO: Definitely, we are trying to publicize the issue. We have been talking to the international press; all kinds of international NGO’s, as well as some supranational bodies like the UN, the EU, European Parliament. Unless there is enough pressure on President Erdogan, it seems that they are going to kill those people one by one. The international press may have to put enough pressure on the government so that we can take those wounded people to the hospital.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.