On May 27, Al-Monitor ran a vivid report about the massive destruction from Turkish security operations in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast. The story described how people gathered on tall buildings in Diyarbakir’s ancient district of Sur, hoping to locate their homes intact in devastated neighborhoods that are still off-limits to residents, while others scrambled to recover usable belongings or the bodies of relatives. According to the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), at least 550 civilians have been killed and 350,000 people displaced since July 2015, when Ankara launched a massive crackdown to purge Kurdish militants entrenched in residential areas across the southeast.
While the people of Sur reeled from the shock of their unrecognizable streets, another Turkish city, Istanbul, hosted the first World Humanitarian Summit, which came as a bitter irony and sparked controversy and criticism. The May 23-24 event, organized by the United Nations, was meant to address the world’s growing refugee problem, yet the host government itself had caused the displacement of thousands of its citizens.