A delegation of European parliamentarians, comprised of Rebecca Harms -Member of the European Parliament for Alliance ’90/The Greens- and Cem Özdemir -Chairman of the German Green Party- have visited the embattled kurdish city of Cizre in the Province of Sirnak today, after the violently imposed nine-day violently curfew was lifted on monday:
Özdemir and Harms were welcomed by Amed co-mayor Fırat Anlı, removed co-mayor of Cizre Leyla İmret, HDP Şırnak deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız, HDP Mardin deputy Mithat Sancar and HDP Batman deputy Ali Atalan.
Following a visit to HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and DBP (Party of Democratic Regions) district organizations, the delegation made an examination in Nur neighborhood which witnessed clashes between the local people and special operation teams.
The military are accused to have committed serious human rights abuses during the recent military intervention in and around Cizre. The curfew attracted widespread criticism for isolating the town from the rest of the world.
The delegation of politicians later visited the families of slain civilians who are receiving condolences in Cudi neighborhood.
In a statement to the press here, Özdemir said Europe was acquainted with everything despite all the efforts of pro-AKP media to conceal what happened in Cizre.
Regarding the removal of Cizre co-mayor Leyla İmret from post, Özdemir said;
“I do not recognize a mayor other than the one elected by the people. The reason why we came here is the fact that all those slain civilians are our sisters and brothers. We do not want anyone else to die. The state is doing already tried and failed methods here, which brought nothing other than pain. It is of no use to pursue this wrong path. Silence of arms is the only thing needed to be realized. I invite everyone to make efforts for this purpose. If there is an issue of trust for negotiations, then I propose the involvement of a third party, for which we also are ready if we would have any part to do in this regard. What matters is to make sure that nobody else dies and gets harmed. The mainstream media has tried to conceal what has happened in Cizre but we heard the voice of Cizre people from Europe. Now that there exists a parliament and deputies representing all diversities, we should make use of this opportunity.”
Özdemir also said during his visit:
“This current conflict has the potential of dragging Turkey into civil war, there’s nothing that could possibly justify the use of heavy artillery against civilians, the people here have endured terrible things.”
The inhabitants of the neighborhood have in the meantime told the delegation that Daesh gangs -who were claimed to be hiding in Ceylanpınar TİGEM since the capture of Girê Spi by YPG- have also been involved in the attacks in Cizre. Özdemir told in response that he took a note of these claims and would demand an investigation into these allegations.
Özdemir also expressed that he was worried about the future of Turkey’s democracy in the light of recent events. He accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of trying to gather support for Turkey’s ruling party, the Islamic-conservative AKP, by using military intervention to polarize public opinion ahead of the upcoming November 1 elections.
“He pushed this country into a crisis without any cause. These elections have to be free and fair. Otherwise we’ll end up suffering this kind of instability for good”.
Rebecca Harms stated during the visit: “Peace processes are slow processes all over the world. However, the solution is found not in weapons, but in politics,” and said that it was essential to go back to the negotiation table, calling for a “silencing of weapons”.