Residents of a neighbourhood in the Kurdish-majority south-eastern province of Mardin’s (Merdin) Kızıltepe (Qoser) district have accused Turkish authorities of deliberately overlooking complaints about drug use among the youth, Jin News reported on Saturday.
Kurdish politicians and rights activists have for years claimed that the Turkish state have been encouraging drug use among Kurdish teens in southeast Turkey as a means of warfare.
Kızıltepe’s Perêket neighbourhood is the latest example of an area where residents have voiced their concerns about the allegedly state-backed drug trade affecting the Kurdish youth.
The residents of the neighbourhood have recently identified four people selling drugs to young people. According to the families and witnesses, those people have not been arrested despite complaints to authorities.
As a result, the residents started a three-day watch in the neighbourhood last week to prevent drug trade.
Ayşe Fidan, whose two sons are drug addicts, said that those four people who controlled the drug trade in the neighbourhood were from the same family. Ayşe said her multiple efforts to treat her sons’ drug addiction had failed as the boys had restarted using drugs when they had returned home from hospital.
“I went to the police station twice,” Fidan said, adding that the police refused to take action, telling her that an arrest could only be possible if a person is caught while selling drugs.
Her son Gükhan Fidan told Jin News that the police was aware of the drug trade within the neighbourhood. “They give us drugs to prevent us from talking about our language and our rights,” said Fidan, noting that he’s been an addict for almost 10 years.
Türkan Kavan, another mother living in the neighbourhood, is also worried about her drug-addict sons.
“My children do not listen to me. The state does nothing. Because they want Kurdish children to take this road. They want them to be drug addicts. The state is giving the drugs,” she said.
Meanwhile, the protests of the residents ended with dealers agreeing to stop selling drugs to young people in the neighbourhood. The residents told Yeni Yaşam newspaper that they will continue to oversee the situation and will organise new protests if those promises are not kept.