Kurdish leader accuses Ankara of \'massacre\' in southeast Turkey
ISTANBUL (Turkey) - The leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party on Tuesday accused Ankara of committing a "massacre," following reports that scores of civilians had been killed in a military operation against Kurdish rebels in a southeastern town.
Cizre has been under a punishing curfew for six weeks as the Turkish army pursues a relentless campaign against rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The reports say Turkish security forces raided a building in Cizre, killing up to 60 wounded people who had been sheltering there for more than a week.
"They committed a massacre in Cizre, and they don't want to announce it," Selahattin Demirtas told party lawmakers.
Meanwhile on Tuesday a 17-year-old Kurdish teenager was killed in southeastern city of Diyarbakir during clashes between police and protesters demonstrating against the military operations in Cizre, security sources said.
Around 3,000 gathered in central Diyarbakir to denounce the military crackdown in Cizre.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday dismissed claims that civilians had been targeted in Cizre, saying the state was only fighting the "terrorists" and was "doing its best to cause no civilian casualties."
Kurdish lawmakers have said dozens of wounded Kurds were trapped in the cellar of the largely ruined building in the Cudi district of Cizre.
They alleged ambulances were being blocked from accessing the building and seven had already died.
Davutoglu said ambulances had been sent to the building, but were unable to reach the wounded due to ongoing clashes.
Most of those hiding in the basement were PKK members, Davutoglu said.
Demirtas said around 70-90 people had taken refuge in the basement and a few other buildings in Cizre, which he said were coming under mortar fire.
"They are scattering the bodies on the streets, on ruined buildings," he said.
The army said on Monday a total of 10 Kurdish rebels were killed in Cizre, bringing the total number of militants killed in the town to some 575 since the "anti-terror" operation started in December.
It was not immediately possible to independently verify the figures.
Turkish police on Monday fired tear gas and water cannon to break up a protest in Istanbul against security operations in Cizre.
A new upsurge of violence between the security forces and Kurdish rebels erupted in July, shattering a fragile two-and-a-half year truce.