In Şırnak’s Cudi, Gabar and Namaz Mountains and in the Çiyayê Bizina and Besta regions, extensive deforestation by soldiers has been continuing for months. Hundreds of thousands of trees have been cut down so far in woodlands, including public land and locals who reacted against the cutting of trees filed objections to the Şırnak Governorate and the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Directorate. However, the petitions were answered with a ‘rejection.’
Responding to this, people sent their urgent appeals to the Urfa Forestry Regional Directorate, which is under the Şırnak Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Directorate. Unfortunately, they received the same response. “Soldiers demanded it, so we approved it,” said officials to the people during a face-to-face meeting, MA reports.
Eşref İnan, whose trees were cut down on his land in the Çemê Mezin region of Besta, is angered by the fact that they have not been able to effect meaningful change as a result of the applications and petitions they made.
“The results of our petitions to Urfa (Riha) are unclear. They just told us, ‘We cannot interfere for security reasons.'” He added: “Our village is free for the village guards, but we’re not allowed. Our land has deeds. The commander said, ‘We’re not touching the trees for a mile,’ but now they’ve cut them all. They should stop cutting our trees.”
In the east and southeastern regions of Turkey, trees have been cut down and destroyed for a long time due to the military operations of Turkey against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) fighters. 450,000 tons of trees were cut down within a year in the Cudi mountains of the region and more than 10 outposts have reportedly been built there so far.
Both locals and also environmental activists have severely criticised Turkey for its ‘scorched-earth’ policy and also for felling trees and building outposts in the region.