Cases Developement
04 July 2016 Army Burns Forests

Turkey: Army Burns Diyarbakır Forests

Call for an international delegation on forest fires!

04 July 2016, Mesopotamian Ecology Movement

Since June 2016 in several provinces of North (Turkish) Kurdistan the forests are burning again. These forest fires are in areas where shortly beforehand the governors (appointed by the central Turkish government) have declared no-go zones for the population and military operations are conducted. We call on all activists and organizations in Turkey and abroad to join a delegation on these spreading forest fires!

It is not an accident that the forest fires occur in the rainless summer and in the framework of larger military operations of the Turkish Army against the PKK guerillas carried out in the forested mountains. Our region is experienced with big human-made forest fires that have happened in the 1990s and last year, too. According to many villagers in the affected areas in 2015 in total around 10,000 hectares of forests have been torched by the Turkish military. Particularly around military stations forest fires have been put systematically and as a result of the spreading fires gardens and fields of dozens of villages have been affected.

The ongoing forests fires concentrate in the Diyarbakır district of Lice, but there are news and images showing that also other districts and the provinces of Hakkarı, Sirnak, Siirt and Mardın are seriously affected. Human rights violations have been reported against the affected local population that has even been forced by the Turkish military to flee from at least eight villages around Lice. The military has impeded all efforts of locals, local municipalities and people from bigger cities to extinguish the fires. The only statement of central government officials is that there are some fires in fields with cannabis.

In order to investigate the ecological destruction through forest fires that threaten also the livelihoods of locals, we call upon on ecologists, human right defenders and other engaged people and organizations from international level and western Turkey to form a delegation between 23 and 25 July in our region. Beginning in the Diyarbakır province the delegation will go to forest fire-affected areas, conduct on-site researches and speak to local people and organizations.

We expect all interested on the morning of 23 July in Diyarbakır.

Mesopotamian Ecology Movement

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Photo: Government forces, Cobra helicopters and warplanes conduct intense attack by started forest fires in rural Lice. Source: Bur Gün.

News in Turkish on the recent forest fires:

Özgür Gündem, “Savaş uçaklarıyla bombalanan Lice`de orman yangınları büyüyor,” Gündem (24 June 2016);

BirGün, “Lice`de Orman Yangınları,” Bur Gün (26 June 2016), at:

Lice`de `hint keneviri imha edildi`, HDP, `amaç başka` diyor,” BBC Türkçe (27 June 2016);

Lice ve Cudi`deki orman yangını Şanlıurfa`da protesto edildi,” Hürriyet (29 June 2016).

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