The International Crisis Group (ICG), a transnational non-profit NGO, has been monitoring the conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK in Southeast Turkey and has created a database of fatalities caused by this conflict since 2011. The data contained in the database are visualised in the (continuously updated) visual explainer [MV1] [NK2] https://www.crisisgroup.org/content/turkeys-pkk-conflict-visual-explainer[MV3] with statistical and graphic representations of the number of fatalities, including civilians, and maps of fatality locations. What becomes manifest is that the fighting has gradually moved away from cities into the rural areas of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority south-east where, as a consequence, fatalities now concentrate.
In view of the level of intensity of the violence – which is assessed among other things on the basis of the duration and gravity of the armed clashes, the type of government forces involved, the types of weapons used and the number of casualties – as well as the level of organization of the Kurdish PKK, the violent clashes between the Turkish military and the PKK fighters in Southeast Turkey have likely developed into a non-international armed conflict (NIAC). As a consequence, the applicability of international humanitarian law (IHL) is triggered, shielding civilians and civilian objects (homes, schools, hospitals etc) from being attacked. Warring parties breaching their obligations under IHL may be held to account for the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity. Civilians whose rights are breached during the NIAC, in principle have a legal right to reparations, including prompt and impartial investigations into what happened, compensation and guarantees of non-recurrence.