Dersim residents fear expansion of Turkish-PKK clashes into their city

By Rudaw 3 hours ago – 17 June 2016 – DERSIM— With renewed clashes between Kurdish fighters and the Turkish army in Dersim city, some 200 kilometers northwest of Diyarbakir, residents fear an expansion of the war into their neighborhoods.

At least 9 people were injured on Monday when a car bomb rocked the Ovacik district in the heart of Dersim, a city that has largely been spared the violence that has been raging the rest of the Kurdish southeast for almost a year.

“The people in Dersim are against digging trenches in the town and further clashes here,” said Tir-Reza Katurman, a member of the Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK). “We are really hopeful that we can keep the war out of our town,” added Katurman who also lives in Dersim. The so-called military state of emergency, which virtually locked down several Kurdish areas for months this year, has now been extended to include dozens of neighborhoods in Dersim.

The military curfews have gradually been removed in many areas since May although some restrictions are still in place, particularly in bordering towns and villages. “More violence is not the answer, it only feeds more bloodshed,” said Ibrahim Imsak who has lived in Dersim his entire life. “I remember when we had 180,000 residents here, now we have only 80,000 or something,” he said of the mass displacement caused by the conflict. “Many have moved and never returned,” He feared the trend would continue if the clashes reached his city.