Mainly in the eastern provinces of Hakkari (Colemerg), Siirt (Sert), Şırnak (Şırnex) and Van (Wan), Kurdish nomads, known as ‘Kocers’, follow a specific migration route with their animals each year with the beginning of the summer and winter seasons.
For the summer months, they climb up the mountains and head to the cooler meadows and mountain plateaus, which provide essential sources of food for their animals.
However, the daily lives of Kocers are being severly obstructed by the beginning of military operations of the Turkish state in the region, MA reports.
Having their migration postponed due to the ongoing military operations launched on April 23 by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the Metîna, Avaşîn and Zap regions in northern Iraq, Kocers share their concerns regarding the restrictions placed upon their seasonal movement to the higher plateaus in the mountains.
As the Kocers have been waiting on the slopes of Mount Cudi in the Cizre district of Şırnak for 20 days, their sheep flocks have taken ill, while some have perished due to hunger.
Abdullah Sevim (57), one of the Koçers, stated that they have never had such a hard time before. ”We are not allowed to move to these lands that actually belong to us. In spring, we go to Van, Hakkari and Siirt. When winter comes, we stay in the villages of Cizre. We rent places to stay. Without money, no-one can neither go to the plateaus nor stay on the plains in winter. “We are having difficulties now because of this burden,” he said.
He said: ”The state told us, ‘Do not go anywhere without permisson’. We had to sign papers that we will wait here. So if we try to leave, soldiers will detain us. We are now desperate and waiting for news from the soldiers”.”
He also stated that their animals are suffering because of their inability to move them. ”We took our animals to the plateaus on the Mount Herekol last year, but this year we cannot go to the highlands. Our animals have begun to get sick due to the heat as well.”
Gülistan Sevim (28), a Kurdish nomad woman, stated that their animals would a die if they cannot make it to the mountain plateaus very soon.
”We should have already arrived to the mountains. Our job is very difficult and demanding. This will effect us even worse as we are late on the plateau this year,” she said.
“Last year,” she added, “We arrived at the mountain plateaus at the beginning of April. But this year we are not allowed to go because of the military operations. Since there is also a drought this year, our problems are doubled. If it continues like this, all of our animals will be devastated.”