Earlier in the week, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed willingness to accept the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Hussein in the south-eastern regions of the country.
“We are ready to send a team at the earliest opportunity and, in light of the statement by the [Turkish] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, look forward to swift official confirmation that this mission will indeed be welcomed and fully supported by the Turkish authorities,” Colville said at a briefing in Geneva.
In this regard, Colville underscored that “full and unhindered access for the UN human rights team to the affected population and locations, authorities, documentation and other relevant materials in south-east Turkey is essential for any credible fact-finding exercise.”
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 as fighting between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Kurdish pro-independence organization considered to be terrorist by Ankara, and the Turkish army resumed. Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews in Kurdish-populated towns, preventing civilians from fleeing the regions where the military operations are taking place.