Turkey Kurds
A woman gestures about damage done to her house during fighting between government troops and separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighters Ilyas Akengin/AFP

The Turkish government has been accused of putting the lives of up to 200,000 people at risk due to its onslaught on Kurdish towns and neighbourhoods, Amnesty International has said.

A report by the human rights group says that round-the-clock curfews and cuts to services amount to "collective punishment" and Ankara must be made to answer for "gross human rights violations".

Their report has warned that the international community "must not look the other way" despite the essential role that Turkey plays in stemming the flow of refugees to Europe.

"Operations by police and the military in these areas have been characterised by abusive use of force, including firing heavy weaponry in residential neighbourhoods," the group said.

With Turkey part of the US-led coalition against jihadists in Syria and a key player in the EU refugee crisis, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme Director, said the Turkish authorities had faced "very little" criticism from the international community.

"Strategic considerations... must not overshadow allegations of gross human rights violations. The international community must not look the other way," he said.

Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, announced on 19 January that military operations against Kurdish rebels had ended in the town of Silopi. The military is still fighting militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in two other urban areas: Cizre and Diyarbakir's historic Sur neighbourhood.

Davutoglu said the operation in Silopi, near the border with Iraq, had ended "successfully" and that a 24-hour curfew has now been eased and reconstruction efforts will soon begin.

On January 15, Turkish police arrested 12 academics who signed a petition criticising a government campaign against Kurdish militants and calling for peace talks.

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) says that 162 people have been killed during the curfews since operations were launched in August 2015, including 29 women, 32 children and 24 people over 60.

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