YPS claims responsibility for attacks on village guard chiefs in Cizre

The Civil Defence Units (YPS) has claimed responsibility for the partly fatal attacks on two village guard chiefs in Cizre.

The Civil Defence Units (YPS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks on two village guard chiefs in the Cizre district of Şırnak. “They are persons who "defend for the interests of AKP/MHP fascism" in Cizre and "target the achievements of the Kurdish people and their liberation movement", said a statement released by the YPS Coordination on Monday.

The paramilitaries are Emin Nergiz and Tahir Güven. The latter was shot dead in Cizre last Saturday. During his lifetime, Güven led the Memanî tribe, which is loyal to the AKP. As a paramilitary village guard in Cizre and the surrounding area, he and his tribesmen served the Turkish army for years in operations against the guerrillas. Even shortly before his death, he had supported the so-called counter-insurgency of the state in Kurdistan "heart and soul" as part of the contra structures in the region, according to the YPS.

The village guard chief Emin Nergiz had already been injured in a bomb attack on the night of 17 November. Nergiz was about to get out of his vehicle in Cizre when a hand grenade was thrown at him. The YPS accused Nergiz of being responsible for attacks on people and of being involved in "countless murders by unknown perpetrators". YPS also stated that he was involved in the deaths of guerrilla fighters in several cases.

"As YPS and YPS-Jin, we point out that the traitors and collaborators active for the fascist regime who are guilty of crimes against the Kurdish people and its guerrillas will be targeted by our forces permanently. Sooner or later, they will be punished by us. At every moment, they will feel the breath of the Kurdish youth on their necks," said the YPS Coordination.

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 become village guards under pressure. The Hamidiye regiments in the Ottoman Empire are considered the historical model of the Village Guards. Today's village guard system emerged 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.