The Botan region of Turkey, which has a strong culture of resistance as a result of the impact of the significant Kurdish political movement that developed there during the 1990s, has been targeted by repressive forces ever since.
Thousands of armoured vehicles and special operations units were deployed in Cizre-Silopi and İdil during the period of the curfews as part of a ‘special orientation’ towards Botan. This paved the way for several civilian casualties.
Targeted as the enemy
Cizre and Sur, followed by the districts of Silvan (Silivânî), Silopi, Nusaybin (Nisêbîn) and Yüksekova were exposed to serious shelling for days. Thousands of hectares of land were laid waste by the shelling and bombardments. Five thousand people were detained as part of a massive operation during 2015 alone, nineteen of whom were co-mayors and thirty five of whom were vice-chairs. Thousands of people were sent behind bars.
Cemeteries were damaged due to the airstrikes and the fields, where the cemeteries were located, were reportedly turned into plain fields. In addition to the village guard system in rural areas and the new rights granted to the village guards, the ‘watchmen system’ has also been implemented.
Dams and mines
The long-term argument for the new concept is that it facilitates sites for the dams and mines. Nearly 500 mining sites have been built upon the living spaces of the villagers who settle at the base of Mount Judi. Approximately 40 bushfires were reported within the past year, as a result of which thousands of hectares of forests have been destroyed.
Special attacks on women
The politics of misogyny has ensured that women have been targeted, particularly women who have taken up political positions as either party members, workers, executives or electives in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Women have been the target of detentions, arrests and threats as part of a plan to limit the political sphere and spaces of women.
The well-known pattern of intimidation that was practiced during the 1990s has returned and it is observed that people are repeatedly intimidated by telephone calls in which they are asked why they have visited HDP premises. A certain policy of trying to create informants for the state through intimidation is also taking place. Parents of families find that they face threats concerning their children.
According to recent news reports, two thousand families have been called and asked to dissociate themselves from the HDP. In the meantime, the number of parents called in these intimidatory ways have stepped up to ten thousand. Weekly demonstrations before the Şırnak (Şirnex) Office of the HDP party building by a group of ten to fifteen women – comprising mothers, spouses and children of people who have been ‘disappeared’ by state forces – now find that they are blockaded by an ‘escort’ of hundreds of law enforcement officers. These new targeting measures have been pioneered by the Justice and Development Party (AKP).