Dersim Ecology Initiative calls for action against forest fires

Dersim Ecology Initiative criticised the silence dominating the public opinion in the face of the forest fires started by the state forces in Dersim, stating that burning down forests became a traditional policy of those who rule the country.

Dersim Ecology Initiative issued a statement on the ecocidal attacks of the Turkish state against the geography of Dersim.


The statement recalled the Keban Dam that entailed the destruction of 100 Dersim villages and inundation of fields after its completion in early 1970s, and dozens of dam and hydroelectric power plants (HES) projects that followed caused the total devastation of the regional environment and habitats.

The Initiative stated that apart from the use of cyanide in the rivers of Dersim for gold prospecting, countless bombardments have been carried out on the land, forests and mountains of Dersim during the military operations over the decades, which burnt the forests and damaged the nature relentlessly.

Referring to the 90's, the statement stressed the state policies on Kurdistan and continued: "During the 90's, the Turkish state used their military to forcibly evacuate around 500 villages and hamlets of Dersim, and destroyed the dwellings, ruined the fields, gardens and devastated the whole environment leaving behind yawning emptiness. The living space in Dersim has been confined drastically, after the forced evacuations of the villages in the 90's added to the 'forbidden' regions that were depopulated in the genocide of 1938."


Dersim Ecology Initiative highlighted that the Turkish state never abandoned the policy of emptying Dersim, and correlated the state practices from 1938 with the 90's and the wildfires caused today, as follows:

"For weeks now, vast forests in five regions of Dersim are engulfed in wildfires that keep spreading and have reached the point of threatening settlement areas. Still, no single voice is being raised!

We face as always a duplicitous stance by the government, the main opposition and the mainstream media that all keep silent on the forests set on fire, obviously not deeming it worth to speak about burning forests in Dersim like the previous cases of Lice, Fis Plain, Kulp, Bitlis, Norşin- Şeyh Cuma, Yayladere, Nusaybin, Eruh, Silopi. Doesn't silence clearly indicate an approval?"

The Initiative stressed that people rushing to the burning scenes to put out the fire are permanently hindered by state forces that dig trenches and put up concrete blocks on the ways and block the roads with panzers, with the purpose of letting the fire reach the villages and fields, and by even fueling the fire with systematic bombardments.

Dersim Ecology Initiative ended its statement with a call to the people in the Kurdish dialects Zazakî and Kurmancî, saying:

"Our brothers and sisters, people of Dersim; let us not forget that we who live on the earth of the Dervish under this ancient and holy sky, have no one to stand up for us. The fire of the tyrants is once again closing in on us. Let us be united around our mountains, and put out the fire with one hand. Let us be together, let us help each other; move to build peace among your society. Let us not abandon our language, our faiths, our culture, our forests, our mountains and our rivers."