Posted on September 29, 2016 by Editorial Staff in PKK
A pro-Turkish government Kurdish village guard patrols a road in Sirnak in Turkish Kurdistan. Photo: Reuters
DIYARBAKIR-AMED, Turkey’s Kurdish region,— Kurdish militants killed three members of a state-backed militia in a firefight in Turkey’s Kurdish region in the country’s southeast on Thursday, security sources said.
Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fired on a pro-Turkish government “village guard” unit patrolling a rural area of Hakkari province, which borders Iraqi Kurdistan and Iranian Kurdistan, the sources said.
Village guards, ethnic Kurds armed men paid by the government supporting the Turkish state, are considered as traitors by the PKK and local Kurdish community in Turkey.
Village guards have the right to carry arms, to inform on suspected separatist activities and to kill in the name of the state has made them a force within the region, while critics say they use their status to settle family scores and take over land.
Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish region after Ankara ended a two-year ceasefire agreement. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.
Observers say the crackdown has taken a heavy toll on the Kurdish civilian population and accuse Turkey of using collective punishment against the minority.
Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians. But the government says the operations are essential for public safety, blaming the PKK for the damage.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population. A large Kurdish community in Turkey and worldwide openly sympathise with PKK rebels.