Kurdish families are objecting against a festival to be held in the Sur district of Diyarbakır (Amed) organised by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, reported Mezopotamya News.
The ministry will launch the festival in partnership with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Diyarbakır between 8 and 16 October.
Families who lost their children as a result of heavy military operations during the notorious curfews and armed siege by the Turkish security forces in the Kurdish-majority provinces between late 2015 and early 2016, protested against the festival and called for people to boycott it.
Two of the victims’ families spoke to the Kurdish news agency.
Fahriye Çukur, mother of the late Rozerin Çukur, said it is inappropriate to hold such an entertainment festival in Sur, the place where great suffering has been experienced.
“They killed my daughter and so many young people there. There are still funerals continuing in Sur. Mothers are still having funerals for their children,” said Fahriye Çukur.
“The tears we shed in Sur have not dried yet. We mothers do not want entertainment and festivals while our tears that have not yet dried.” added Çukur.
Vezir Çelik, father to the late Fırat Çelik who was also a victim in Sur, also criticised the festival saying he only received the body of his dead son three months after his death.
“They destroyed everything including the homes in Sur. Bodies remain under the Sur district and have still not yet been returned to the families. Why are they having a festival in this place?” asked Vezir Çelik.
Ecological concerns have also been muted around the event. Diyarbakir Castle and the Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape in Diyarbakır that were included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2015, have already faced “irreparable damage”.
“The so-called festivals will not contribute to the preservation of the heritage and natural landscape of the area,” said the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers, an international NGO responsible for a recent report condemning the planned festival, as cited by Mezopotamya News Agency.
The co-chair of the NGO, Samet Ucaman, also said that the Turkish government carries out various ‘distraction activities’ to cover up their past crimes, attempting to obscure the dark realities of the past with new, more superficial memories.
“We are also aware that the aim is a continuation of efforts to create a new memory and cultural assimilation,” said Ucuman.
The AKP have banned many music festivals in Turkey and attempted to launch alternative government backed festivals instead.