Turkey has lambasted as “biased” a report by the United Nations accusing Ankara of committing serious human rights violations, including displacing half a million people, in its military operations against Kurdish militants in the country's southeastern regions.
“The report about anti-terror operations in the southeast is biased, based on false information and far from professional,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Friday, hours after the UN rights office released its report.
Earlier in the day, the UN said that from July 2015 to December 2016, Turkish security forces had killed some 2,000 people in the southeast, where entire neighborhoods had also been razed by the Turkish military.
The report also revealed that as many as 500,000 people, mostly Kurds, had been displaced, while satellite images disclosed the “enormous scale of destruction of the housing stock by heavy weaponry.”
It also said that the UN investigators had documented an array of human rights violations, including killings, disappearances and torture, often during multiple curfews, some of which lasting for several days at a time.
The world body also called for launching an urgent probe into the violations, adding that the investigation could be international or Turkish but must be independent and impartial.
The Turkish military has launched one of its largest “anti-terrorist” operations over the past years against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in the country’s troubled southeast. Ankara has declared the PKK a terrorist organization and has banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015 and attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against the PKK positions in the country’s southeastern border region as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Sources said on Monday that some 7,000 Turkish gendarmerie soldiers, 600 special forces along with dozens of tanks and helicopters had been deployed to Lice district in Diyarbakir province.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.