Village guards destroy forests in Şırnak countryside

The destruction of Kurdistan's forests is a direct continuation of the village destruction policy of the 1990s

Village guards have started to cut off trees in the Kuştiyan area in the vicinity of Mount Gabar in Şırnak countryside.

According to reports from the ground, the destruction of trees in the area began 10 days ago under the watchful eye of soldiers.

The Turkish army has been destroying forest lands in the Gabar, Besta and Cudi regions of Şırnak systematically for many years.

Trees have been cut down massively by village guards in the past three years. The ecocide in Kurdistan territory is spreading to larger areas every day.

Destruction of Kurdistan's forests

The destruction of Kurdistan's forests is a direct continuation of the village destruction policy of the 1990s. The fires in the region are often started by the Turkish army to make sure that the guerrillas are deprived of cover through a scorched earth policy and the rural population that supports the guerrillas is driven out. In many cases, forest fires have political-military causes, and even if they break out due to the drought, extinguishing them is prevented for military reasons. The fauna and flora of the region are exposed to destruction. While news of forest fires in western Turkey in general, and especially in holiday regions, reaches the European public, a systematic special warfare is being waged in Kurdistan with forest fires, against which, however, no reactions are raised.

Village guards

Village guards are paramilitary units used in Kurdistan against guerrillas and unwelcome opposition members. They consist to a considerable extent of tribal leaders, large landowners, families, and individuals who have often worked with the state for decades in an attempt to advocate for the state's interests in Kurdistan. Some of the village guards join this system voluntarily, while others are threatened with murder, arrest, and expulsion and must become village guardians under pressure. The Hamidiye regiments in the Ottoman Empire are considered the historical model of the village guards. Today's village guard system came into being in 1985, a year after the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) launched its armed struggle. At that time, the Turkish government under Turgut Özal began recruiting and arming Kurdish tribes and clans in the war against the PKK. Thousands of Kurdish villages that rejected the village guard system were burned and razed to the ground by the state in the 1990s.