Demonstrations and events in Turkey’s eastern province of Van (Wan) have been banned for the last four years. The meadows and mountain plateaus, which are the basic sources of food for animals belonging to the Kurdish nomads known as Kocers, are also included among the “banned” locations.
In a recent statement sent by the Van Governorship to the local security forces, all mountain plateaus were declared as “banned” areas. The entrances to the plateaus and pastures were banned on “security” grounds, according to the statement.
In 2020, 108 of the 673 pastures and plateaus in the Van province were banned and declared as “Temporary Military Security Zones”. Villagers who wanted to use these lands to feed their animals were asked to provide a document which included all their personal ID information, and even those who were herding the animals were asked to provide details of their “criminal record”, a highly unusual request.
The recent ban is expected to affect hundreds of Kurdish nomad families, who are known as “Kocers”. Kocers have long used mountain plateaus in Van to feed their animals and to set up their tents before they move to another land as part of their migration routine, passing along the Siirt (Sert), Batman (Elih), Diyarbakır (Amed), Urfa (Riha) and Van provinces.