- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights office on Friday urged Turkey's government to investigate alleged killings and other abuses in the country’s southeast, in a new report decrying violations including hundreds of alleged unlawful killings and the obliteration of nearly 1,800 buildings during security force operations over 18 months.

Based on “remote monitoring,” the report focuses on violence between July 2015 and December 2016, saying some 2,000 people — including 1,200 local residents and 800 security forces — were reportedly killed during the security sweep. As least 355,000 were reportedly displaced.

The 25-page report, which follows a security crackdown after numerous extremist attacks and a failed coup in Turkey in recent months, draws on confidential and public accounts, satellite imagery and other sources.

The report urged investigations so that “perpetrators of unlawful killings are brought to justice,” an end to “unannounced, open-ended, 24-hour curfews,” and “effective reparations for victims and family members” whose human rights have been abused.

U.N. investigators have failed to gain access to the largely ethnic Kurdish areas of the southeast despite a year of attempts to do so. Rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said the government in Ankara “hasn’t really given reasons” why access hasn’t been granted — other than saying U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein himself could go.

Colville said the investigation could be domestic, but it would need to be “seen as independent and impartial.”

The rights office said Turkey's government had indicated that the Kurdistan Workers Party known as PKK, which Ankara, the European Union and others consider a terror group, had attacked security forces, killing and wounding many.

The report cites “complex challenges” that Turkey has faced since a failed coup in July, but added that measures in a subsequent state of emergency “appear to have largely targeted dissent in general and political parties of the opposition in particular” — especially people of Kurdish roots.

Turkey’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

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