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Will Turkey let UN officials snoop in the southeast?

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is demanding that Turkey allow UN officials to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the war-ravaged southeast of the country.
A woman looks at a building, which was damaged during the security operations and clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants, in the southeastern town of Cizre in Sirnak province, Turkey March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar - RTS9000
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Turkey’s US and European allies continue to maintain a near silence over the country’s steady descent into a human rights nightmare, even as respected global watchdogs chronicle the abuses taking place there on an almost daily basis. Whether it is silencing the media, torture during detention or mass violence against civilians in the mainly Kurdish southeast, according to rights defenders, Turkey is beginning to resemble the Middle East dictatorships that it was once touted as a model for them to follow.

Now, a new and critical voice has joined the chorus of rebukes: the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In an unusually harsh statement, the Geneva-based high commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, lambasted Turkey over a list of shocking crimes the security forces are widely alleged to have committed during a 78-day round-the-clock curfew between December 2015 and March that was slapped on Cizre, a Kurdish majority town on the Iraqi border. A crucible of Kurdish rebellion since the 19th century, Cizre was the scene of some of the worst violence in the latest outbreak of fighting between the security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that erupted in August 2015.

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