Some 400,000 people had to migrate from their homes during clashes between the Turkish security forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s southeast in 2015 and 2016, according to a report released by a chamber.
The Union of Chambers of Turkish Architects and Engineers (TMMOB) carried out examinations in seven districts of four provinces where months-long curfews were imposed and released their findings in a report.
The districts of Şırnak, Mardin, Hakkari and Diyarbakır were the focus of the report due to the provinces being the main areas that clashes took place.
“In the cities where clashes have taken place, it was seen that psychological, social and economic problems were also experienced together with the destruction,” the report read, adding that children and women suffered and were traumatized the most during this process.
People had to leave their memories and belongings behind, the report said, adding that it caused them to fall into poverty.
“A high portion of the migrants had to live in places with no infrastructure under very hard conditions in houses where they rented collectively,” it also said.
According to the chamber, those displaced had to move towards neighboring provinces, such as Van and Batman.
“Also in the migration areas, children were devoid of education for a long period of time. It was seen that this was a process of destruction where the clashes affected the life as a whole,” the report read.
The chamber noted that there were differences in the levels of destruction in seven residential areas, with nearly half of the city being destroyed in Diyarbakır’s Sur, central Şırnak and Mardin’s Nusaybin.
In Hakkari’s Yüksekova, the level of destruction was lower compared to the aforementioned districts, according to the report, while 35 percent of the population was left homeless.
One of the districts that suffered the most during clashes and extensive curfews was Sur, where a curfew is still in place in six neighborhoods.
“Despite the fact that it was announced that the operations ended in March 2016, nobody was allowed to enter to the neighborhoods where a curfew was announced other than work machines and contractors,” it said, adding that almost all of the 23,323 people living in these neighborhoods were displaced.
“Suriçi became a devastating battlefield where all heavy weapons of the security forces were used,” the report added, while noting that six neighborhoods in the district were erased from the map.
While some 45,000 people had to leave Nusaybin, population in Şırnak’s Cizre decreased to 20,000 from over 130,000.
In the İdil district of Şırnak, 80 percent of the population had to migrate and seven neighborhoods in the province’s center were completely destroyed.
The report also mentioned alleged human rights abuses.
“The dead were dragged on the roads, their naked bodies were exhibited, and on the other hand people kept their dead in their refrigerators since they could not bury them,” it said, while also mentioning the “basements of atrocity” in Cizre, where “it was determined that more than 150 bodies were burnt.”