Speaking in an interview to a Turkish daily, Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) Chairman Zekeriya Yapıcıoğlu claimed that over 10,000 people have fled to Northern Iraq due to fear of the PKK, after the terrorist organization accelerated its deadly activities in the region.
Asserting the PKK's threats and continuous pressure caused the displacement, Yapıcıoğlu claimed: "We know that in Şemdinli [a district in southeastern Hakkari province] alone over 10,000 people have crossed the border to reach the KRG [Kurdish Regional Government]."
Yapıcıoğlu also pointed to Silvan, a district in southeastern Diyarbakır as another district experiencing unrest. He said: "Some neighborhoods in Silvan are completely evacuated. People evacuated their homes because of threats and pressure," and added: "There is a similar picture in Diyarbakır's Sur district." He stated that the reason for the decline in voter turnout in the region in the Nov. 1 is the atmosphere of terror created by the PKK.
Meanwhile, overwhelmed by the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) ongoing counterterrorism campaign, the PKK's urban elements will become the sole target over the winter. While the PKK attempted to incite uprisings in urban areas by mobilizing the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H), people in the region stood by security forces and have voiced their support for counterterror operations. Security forces will now reportedly step up efforts in urban areas to crack down on the YDG-H. After operations on PKK camps in Northern Iraq weakened the organization and destroyed much of its weaponry, the sole obstacle standing in the TSK's way is the YDG-H, which has little support from the people in the region.
Yapıcıoğlu also touched on the reconciliation process tnat is currently "in the freezer". Turkish media outlets have recently published pieces stating the PKK and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) will not be involved in solving the conflict should the reconciliation process restart. The government's aim is reportedly a more active participation of opinion leaders and the people. Yapıcıoğlu voiced his support for the idea, and said: "There are political parties and nongovernmental organizations in the region that are able to represent the people. The people's demands should be taken into consideration."