Recently, Vice News’ John Beck interviewed outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Cemil Bayık. This report features a number of factual inaccuracies that we would like to point out. First, Beck describes the current situation in Turkey’s SE like this:
Government forces supported by tanks, artillery, and helicopter gunships moved into towns and cities in the region, imposing a series of strict round the clock curfews and clashing with lightly armed Kurdish militants in fierce urban fighting.
The Kurdish militants Beck refers to, actually PKK militants, are not “lightly” armed. Not only do they have automatic weapons, they also use rockets and improvised explosive devices placed in trenches and houses to attack Turkish security forces.
Turkish media also claimed that the PKK deployed snipers in the area.
Beck also alleges that:
Access is barred to journalists and other external observers, but amateur video footage and pictures show scenes reminiscent of battlefields in neighboring Syria, with districts devastated by heavy weaponry and the bodies of civilians said to have been killed by security forces.
Access to conflict zones in SE Turkey is not totally barred to journalists or other external observers. A handful of press organizations and observers have been and are allowed to visit the area with a certain restrictions.
Even Turkey’s main opposition party CHP visited Diyarbakır’s Sur neighborhood in December while it was under curfew. A video record of the excursion was published by one of Turkey’s most important opposition newspapers.
Finally, Beck chooses to obscure the PKK’s responsibility for a recent bombing:
Last week a truck bomb blamed on the group detonated outside a police station in the southeastern town of Cinar, an indiscriminate attack that killed one police officer and five civilians, including a baby and wounded many others.
There is no question of who was responsible for the bombing since the PKK itself officially claimed responsibility.