Turkey: Kurdish villages near the border under military blockade

Turkey: Kurdish villages near the border under military blockade
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Six villages in Turkey's Cizre district have been cordoned off for 10 days, reportedly because of "tips" received by officials.

Weeks to the elections on 14 May, six Kurdish villages in Turkey's southeastern district of Cizre have been cordoned off by troops and people are let in only after criminal record scan at check points, Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Monday.

The villages were raided and house searches carried out by troops 10 days ago, and the settlements remain under blockade throughout the time, MA said.

The villages of Yesilyurt (Kurdish name Jinibre), Sulak (Nehribe), Asagi Cesme (Biyakopke), Tepeonu (Batile), Cagil (Sirsirke) and Gursu (Gozik) have been subjected to blockades reportedly on "tips" received by officials.

A villager who spoke on condition of anonymity told MA:

"No one can step out of their houses after dark. It is the month of Ramadan now and people are used to going out after the Iftar [fast-breaking evening meal], but now they cannot, because of the blockade."

He added:

"The soldiers broke down the doors and windows of many houses during the raid, and they threatened families. We have been told that the blockade will continue for some time. We don't have any idea when it will end."

The Kurdish village of Qesran in the district of Yuksekova has been similarly cordoned off by troops after a military operation was launched in the region on 3 March. The villages of Sisemzin, Xurekan'a Seyida, Xurekan'a Temo and several more are impacted by a military operation that is carried out in an area around the town of Esendere (Bajerge), according to a report by Ozgur Politika.

A historic Armenian church in the village of Ele has been turned into a military guard post, Ozgur Politika said.

The districts of Cizre and Yuksekova are both near the Turkish-Iraqi border, through which the Turkish military has been carrying out attacks against the Kurdish fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).