DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — On the morning of Dec. 12, the ancient heart of Diyarbakir, the largest city of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeast, was abuzz with anxious activity. Throngs of people hurried into the district of Sur, while others hurried out. It was the first time residents could go out freely after a nine-day curfew, imposed amid clashes between the security forces and groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was briefly lifted.
In one narrow street, the Cengiz family was busy loading a few belongings onto a pickup truck, getting ready to leave Sur as at least 20,000 others have done in recent days, according to local rights activists. “What else can we do? There is a war here,” Mehmet Cengiz told Al-Monitor. “How long is this war going to last? We could not go out for nine days because of the clashes. We couldn’t even get bread. The people are suffering. A solution must be found.”