12:54 GMT24 September 2020
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    Turkish society has been keeping silent about what happens in Kurdish towns, where Erdogan’s army and police are shelling residential areas, killing more civilians every week. Why do even Kurds in western Turkey appear so indifferent on the issue?

    There are four reasons for residents of the west of Turkey to be indifferent or even hostile to the state violence against Kurds in the southeast, as described in a fresh column published in Al Monitor.

    The first reason is related to suppression of any opposition in the country.

    “It is not easy to raise one's voice in Turkey against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government on any issue, especially when it involves the [outlawed in Turkey Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK. Multiple times peace activists have fallen victim to terrorist attacks and arrests. For example, most recently 15 Dokuz Eylul University students were arrested in Izmir while protesting for peace,” Al Monitor explains.

    A man looks out of a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey
    © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    Any enthusiasm in the struggle for peace was thus simply put down by the brute force of the repressive regime – news and gossip about harsh arrests and the murders of activists spread quickly.

    The second reason is that Kurds, who don’t live in the southeast and don’t face everyday violence perpetrated by Ankara’s security forces, are highly assimilated by the Turkish majority.

    “Although [the leader of the only pro-Kurdish parliamentary party, HDP, a Kurd himself, Selahattin] Demirtas is calling upon the people in western Turkey to raise their voices, even the majority of Kurds have not shown willingness to take on this call,” Al Monitor states.

    To a large extent, such a low morale is intertwined with the first reason mentioned – simple fear for the repression machine of Erdogan’s Turkey. Even Turks who sympathize with Kurds are afraid to raise their voices.

    ​The third reason for people in western Turkey remaining silent as full-scale civil war in the southeast is getting momentum is the moral dilemma of speaking up while the number of deaths of police and soldiers steadily grows.

    “The majority of people in the west do not view the current unrest as nonviolent resistance but as terror attacks. Several towns in the southeast that had a majority of HDP voters in the last elections have declared ‘self-rule’ and have started digging ditches around their towns. People in the west of Turkey cannot comprehend the meaning of self-governance or the necessity of the trenches, both of which have negative connotations,” Al Monitor details.

    The last but not the least reason is the lack of trustworthy information. In Turkey, the majority still gets the news from TV, which is predominantly government-controlled. Social media may not serve as a viable alternative due to the abundance of biased and unverifiable information, Al Monitor notes.

    “For decades there have been several incidents of mass violence without proper public reconciliation,” Dilek Gokcin, a film director who closely follows Kurdish matters, told Al-Monitor. “We live in a constant state of denial. So maybe the question ‘Why people are silent when there is a war?’ is not quite appropriate. There is no war here, the war is in Kurdistan. Ignorance then becomes the ultimate bliss. If you don't know, you cannot be held accountable, so most people have a rational apathy because they are helpless in the face of atrocities.”

    • Turkish masked plain clothes police officer patrols a street during a clash between Kurdish activists and Turkish police in the historical Sur district on December 24,2015 in Diyarbakir
      Turkish masked plain clothes police officer patrols a street during a clash between Kurdish activists and Turkish police in the historical Sur district on December 24,2015 in Diyarbakir
      © AFP 2020 / ILYAS AKENGIN
    • Plainclothes policemen react during a protest following a funeral ceremony for Kurdish militants in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 24, 2015.
      Plainclothes policemen react during a protest following a funeral ceremony for Kurdish militants in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 24, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • Turkish riot police stand guard during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the Kurdish dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 6, 2015.
      Turkish riot police stand guard during a protest against the curfew in Sur district in the Kurdish dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 6, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • The militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stand at a barricade in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      The militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stand at a barricade in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      © AP Photo / Cagdas Erdogan
    • A militant of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stands at a barricade in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      A militant of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stands at a barricade in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      © AP Photo / Cagdas Erdogan
    • Militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stand in a bunker in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      Militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, stand in a bunker in Sirnak, Turkey, late Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015.
      © AP Photo / Cagdas Erdogan
    • People carry the coffin of Medeni Orak, a man killed in Nusaybin, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015.
      People carry the coffin of Medeni Orak, a man killed in Nusaybin, Turkey, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015.
      © AP Photo / Cagdas Erdogan
    • People look at buildings which were damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      People look at buildings which were damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • Turkish police carry caskets during a funeral ceremony on December 16, 2015 at the police headquarters in Diyarbakir, for three police officers who were killed during clashes with Turkish forces and Kurdish militants on December 15.
      Turkish police carry caskets during a funeral ceremony on December 16, 2015 at the police headquarters in Diyarbakir, for three police officers who were killed during clashes with Turkish forces and Kurdish militants on December 15.
      © AFP 2020 / Ilyas Akengin
    • A woman walks past a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in the southeastern town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province, Turkey, December 7, 2015.
      A woman walks past a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in the southeastern town of Silvan in Diyarbakir province, Turkey, December 7, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Murad Sezer
    • A relative grieves at the grave of Medeni Orak, killed  in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, on December 24, 2015, in Mardin province.
      A relative grieves at the grave of Medeni Orak, killed in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, on December 24, 2015, in Mardin province.
      © AFP 2020 / Bulent Kilic
    • A boy shows bullets used during clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkish special forces in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      A boy shows bullets used during clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkish special forces in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      © AFP 2020 / Ilyas Akengin
    • People look out from a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      People look out from a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • A man carries his daughter past a destroyed tanker truck in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, on December 24, 2015, in Mardin province.
      A man carries his daughter past a destroyed tanker truck in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, on December 24, 2015, in Mardin province.
      © AFP 2020 / Burent Kilic
    • People look out from a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      People look out from a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey, December 11, 2015.
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • A Kurdish fighter walks through barricads in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      A Kurdish fighter walks through barricads in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      © AFP 2020 / Ilyas Akengin
    • A girl stands at the entrance of a damaged house in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      A girl stands at the entrance of a damaged house in the Sur district in Diyarbakir on December 11, 2015.
      © AFP 2020 / Ilyas Akengin
    • A man looks out of a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey
      A man looks out of a building which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in Sur district of Diyarbakir, Turkey
      © REUTERS / Sertac Kayar
    • Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas.
      Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas.
      © AFP 2020 / STRINGER
    • Members of the Kurdish community flash the V for victiry sign during a demonstration in Sirnak
      Members of the Kurdish community flash the V for victiry sign during a demonstration in Sirnak
      © AFP 2020 /
    • Police use teargas to disperse masked militants protesting the killing of Tahir Elci, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, who faced a prison term on charges of supporting Kurdish rebels, in Istanbul, Turkey, late Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015
      Police use teargas to disperse masked militants protesting the killing of Tahir Elci, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, who faced a prison term on charges of supporting Kurdish rebels, in Istanbul, Turkey, late Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015
      © AP Photo / Cagdas Erdogan
    • People react as smoke billows from burning pallets set on fire during clashes between Turkish riot policemen and Kurdish protesters in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on November 1, 2015 after first results of the Turkish general election showed a clear victory to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at Kurds who were protesting after the election appeared to deliver a clear victory to AKP, an AFP photographer said. Latest results say the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) won slightly over 10 percent of the vote, just enough to scrape into parliament.
      People react as smoke billows from burning pallets set on fire during clashes between Turkish riot policemen and Kurdish protesters in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on November 1, 2015 after first results of the Turkish general election showed a clear victory to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at Kurds who were protesting after the election appeared to deliver a clear victory to AKP, an AFP photographer said. Latest results say the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) won slightly over 10 percent of the vote, just enough to scrape into parliament.
      © AFP 2020 / Bulent Kilic
    1 / 22
    © AFP 2020 / ILYAS AKENGIN
    Turkish masked plain clothes police officer patrols a street during a clash between Kurdish activists and Turkish police in the historical Sur district on December 24,2015 in Diyarbakir

    More than 100,000 people have been displaced due to armed clashes between Turkish security forces and militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the country's majority-Kurdish southeastern regions, Turkey's Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

    Severe clashes between Ankara forces and PKK militants have been arising sporadically since a July terror attack in the city of Suruc, which killed over 30 people, most of them Kurds. After Kurds killed two Turkish policemen soon after the attack, Ankara launched a military campaign against the PKK. The clashes intensified earlier this week in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

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    civilian casualties, Kurds, clashes, protest, bombings, kurds, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), Justice and Development Party (AKP), Selahattin Demirtas, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cizre, Silopi, Diyarbakir, Turkey
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