Wildland fires started by the Turkish army in Dersim protested

Alevi organisations and environmentalists have condemned the fires Turkish forces deliberately started in the forests in Dersim, and vowed that they will not remain silent.

Alevi organisations and environmentalists in Istanbul have issued a joint statement regarding the wildland fires in Dersim. The press conference at the IHD (Human Rights Association) branch in Istanbul was attended by representatives of many NGOs including Federation of Dersim's Associations (DEDEF), Munzur Environment Protection Association, the HDK (Peoples’ Democratic Congress) Ecology Council, and the Pir Sultan Abdal Association.


The joint statement read by the environment activist Hasan Şen pointed out that the fires in forests are started on purpose, and criticized the silence of the press.

Remarking that the people of Dersim engaged in efforts to extinguish the fire but faced obstructions from state forces, the statement said forest fires was a consequence of the state’s efforts to depopulate Dersim territory.

Şen said the fires also kill numerous endemic plant species and animals, and stressed that: “The solution is not to continue the insistence to fight against sociological realities with such an abdication of reason that goes so far as to destroy its own nature, but to ensure peace and universal law.

Şen also mentioned the fires ravaging the Cudi and Gabar mountains in Şırnak countryside, saying: "The fires are not accidental, and are a result of the state’s policy of annihilating the peoples with different identities and abusing the nature as a field of profit.”


Chairman of the Munzur Environment Protection Association Hatun Esen underlined that the fires started in Dersim intended to wipe out the entire history of a people, and continued: "Those sufferings our ancestors were subject to in 1938, we are living once again today in the form of systematic burning down of our forests and demolition of our places of worship. Our forefathers used to ask the nature and living beings for permission before entering the meadows. The Turkish state is now launching direct attacks on those things that we consider sacred."

Esen stated that they will not remain silent in the face of the fires and neither will they close their eyes to the systematic annihilation of their history and nature.


Speaking on behalf of the Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association, Gülizar Taşbilek pointed out that the Turkish state is assaulting the Alevi people and culture in a systematic way. Taşbilek stated: "These fires they are starting today are not the first deliberate fires and will neither be the last ones. But they shall know that we will resist for our nature and our culture and protect them."


Member of the HDK (Peoples’ Democratic Congress) Ecology Council Kiraz Özdoğan said: "The burning of the forests is a political act. The forests, which they cannot simply sacrifice for their political interests, are part of our lives. Without the forests life is not possible. We will continue our struggle against the colonialist mechanisms of capitalism."