Predominantly Kurdish town of Cizre, Turkey, sees curfew lifted

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A predominantly Kurdish town in south-eastern Turkey is no longer under full-day curfew, a day after the governor of Sirnak province had promised to lift it, according to local media reports.

The curfew on the town of Cizre was lifted early Saturday, according to local broadcaster IMC. The curfew had been in place for nine days, imposed by the government after fighting between authorities and Kurdish separatists.

A ceasefire which held for two years between the state and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) broke down in July. Since then nearly 200 people have been killed inside the country, with much of the violence focused on the south-east.

Amnesty International said the Cizre curfew, imposed on the town of 120,000 people, included “the cutting of mobile phone signals, the blocking of roads, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the city, and reported cuts to water and electricity.”

There were also reported disruptions to basic health care services as part of the curfew.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks called the curfew “deeply worrying.”

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Friday had ruled the curfew could continue.

Curfews and other restrictions on movement imposed by the security forces are in place in various south-eastern districts.

Before the curfew on Cizre was fully lifted, Leyla Imret, the town’s co-mayor, was removed from her post. According to IMC, she was accused by a local prosecutor of spreading propaganda for a terrorist group.

Imret is from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which received more than 90 per cent of the vote in the town in the country’s last election in June.

The HDP, which staged a peace march to Cizre that was blocked by the military, said more than 20 civilians had died in the town over the past week.

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