Forced displacement of the Kurds has become a widespread policy adopted by the Turkish authorities. Mass village evacuations were first applied systematically throughout eastern and southeastern Turkey in the 1990s. Turkish security forces, both then and now, put pressure on people to cooperate with them as korucu (village guards).
Pro-government Turkish media organs have recently been making propaganda that things have changed in Turkey regarding the forced displacement of the Kurds, pushing news stories about how easy it now is for Kurdish villagers to return to their villages. But the reality of Kurdish-majority eastern Turkey is far from how it is represented in the mainstream media, MA reports.
Villagers from various villages located on the slopes of Mounts Cudi and Gabar in Şırnak (Şirnex) told MA that they are ordered to join the ”village guards” if they want to return to their villages, but if they refuse this “offer”, they are forbidden to return. Thousands of Kurdish villagers are suffering as a result of these arbitrary injunctions.
Mehmet Turuğ, aged 42, from Çağlayan (Şax) village states that his village was burnt down in 1994 and entry to it has been banned ever since.
He says he has had to spend his life in big cities far away from his home village but that he wants his children not to have to share the same destiny.
“We are not able to enter our own villages, but the village guards walk freely there. We are the last generation that remembers what it was like to live in our villages. Our children do not know their homelands. But we want to be able to return to our villages and raise our children there like other citizens,” he said.
He noted that they had submitted several petitions to the local governors asking to return, but that they refused to give permission: ”Today, we cannot afford the costs of living in the city because of the high prices. I have five children and I cannot find a job. If we were allowed to enter our village, we could plant our land and raise animals and make a living that way. But we are not allowed to do this.”
Emine Duymak, another Kurdish citizen from Kırkkuyu (Deştalela) village, says she misses the vineyards, gardens and animals she had before their house was burned down to the ground and they were to displaced to the city of Cizre (Cîzîr).
The 65-year-old woman has been able to visit her village only twice in 27 years.
”We ask for permission to enter the village but it is refused for various reasons. They say people can freely return to their villages, but this is not true. If it was allowed I would not spend another day here in Cizre,” she said.
Another Kurdish villager, Taybet Bayık (70) from Kırkkuyu village, said the gendarmarie burned her village in the 1990s and she and her fellow villagers had to leave with only the clothes on their backs.
“We won’t agree to work as village guards, so they won’t allow us to go back our village,” she said.
”I long to see my village again. Our lands and gardens and homes were burned to the ground. In the following years, they banned us from our village for ‘security’ reasons. I don’t understand what security they are talking about. They see me and my chickens as terrorism. Are they going to protect me from myself?”