Turkish soldiers who fought Kurds now branded as terrorists

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Turkish soldiers arrested in Şırnak for attempting military coup. Photo: Aksam

ARA News 

AMUDE – According to the pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak, more than 2,839 Turkish soldiers were arrested on Saturday and treated like Kurdish rebels they used to fight against, after the failed military coup of Friday.

Many soldiers were arrested in Kurdish cities by the Turkish police and treated as if they were members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), being stripped naked and handcuffed. Moreover supporters of the government have beaten soldiers that surrendered themselves to the police.

While in the past, these soldiers jointly with the police fought against Kurdish rebels and also killed dozens of civilians, according to human rights organisations. The same soldiers are now branded as terrorists by the Turkish media, and were lynched by Turkish civilians.

Pro-Turkish media said for instance in the Kurdish town of Sirnak, more than 309 ‘Feto terrrorists’ were arrested, in a reference to Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Islamist that is regarded by the government as the mastermind of July 15’s coup attempt.

Moreover, the authorities also arrested second army division commander Adem Huduti, who reportedly ‘cleaned [Kurdish cities of] Cizre and Sur’ according to the Turkish media,where many Kurdish civilians were killed. While in the past he was praised for his operations against the PKK, now he is branded a criminal.

According to rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Turkish government committed many violations, and the government is blocking access into alleged mass abuses against Kurdish civilians. At least 130 civilians were killed in basements by the Turkish army, and the Turkish army shot at civilians carrying white flags. 

“The alleged abuses include unlawful killings of civilians, mass forced civilian displacement, and widespread unlawful destruction of private property,” the HRW said. The organisation also accused the PKK of killing civilians in attacks.

A two-years ceasefire between the PKK and Turkish armed forces broke down in July 2015, resulting into heavy fighting, which claimed lives of many civilians and caused mass displacements. 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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