Growing reaction against invasion attacks and forest destruction in South Kurdistan

The new invasion attacks and forest plundering carried out by the Turkish state in South Kurdistan since April 23 have sparked reactions in Kurdistan, Europe and beyond.

The attacks carried out by the invading Turkish state against South Kurdistan (Bashur)have drawn intense reactions from the people of the entire autonomous region in northern Iraq.

Some parliamentarians from the ruling party KDP, as well as PUK and other party leaders have expressed reactions after a large-scale forest destruction began following the latest Turkish invasion attack on Metina, Zap and Avashin regions in the Medya Defense Zones controlled by the guerrilla forces in the region.

The most serious reaction from within the KDP against the invasion attacks came from Edhem Barzani, a former member of the KDP Executive Committee in charge of Sulaymaniyah until 2019. In a latest statement on the latest developments in the region, Barzani said that he did want to live under occupation conditions. His remarks caused him to leave Hewler.

Although Edhem Barzani's reaction has been widely discussed by people in Bashur for days, pro-KDP media has not covered anything on the issue.

KDP Parliamentarian Rêwing Hirori has also brought up the matter and raised concern over the invading Turkish state's destruction of forests in the Metina, Hiro and Derare regions and the seizure of the trees.


The Baghdad and Hewler (Erbil) Agriculture ministries also responded harshly to the forest destruction. In their joint statement, both ministries stated that this was a "hostile attitude" and said, “According to the information we obtained and images coming through, some companies from Turkey started to cut down forests in the border region of Behdinan with North Kurdistan (South-East Turkey) through Turkish soldiers, village guards and mercenaries. The wood obtained from the forests is delivered to Turkey. This act constitutes a destruction of the nature of South Kurdistan and Iraq. It is a hostile attitude towards all peoples living in the region. We ask the Turkish government to stop this immediately. We urge international institutions and organizations, especially the UN, to step in as soon as possible.”


Mohammad Hekim, a member of the Komaley Islamic Political Committee, assessed the Turkish state's Kurdish genocide and plundering forests from an Islamic point of view.

“According to Islam, cutting forests and destroying green areas is forbidden and sinful. What the Turkish troops do in Kurdistan is a great cruelty to our land and waters. Unfortunately, neither Iraq nor the regional government protects our lands, forests, water and people,” Hekim said.


Former Komalay Islam Parliamentarian Soran Ömer, whose parliamentary membership was revoked by the KDP, said that the Turkish state wanted to expand its occupation with the latest attacks and that it would never leave the areas it occupied.

“Turkey is bombing the people of the region in their villages, vineyards, gardens, fields and forests. They shoot civilians. They are destroying our nature. This is an attack of genocide and destruction. The Turkish state says that it only targets the PKK. This is just a pretext. The aim is to destroy the Kurds and Kurdistan as a whole. Unfortunately, some people support Turkey and become accomplice. The Turkish state is implementing a plan to occupy Mosul and Kirkuk together with South Kurdistan. That's why it is increasing its military force and expanding the occupation. We need to realize that burning and cutting the forests aim at forcing the people in the region to migrate. The government and political parties in South Kurdistan have assumed a dangerous silence against this, which is false. A firm stance must be adopted,” Ömer said.


KDP parliamentarian Aras Heso Mirxan expressed his reaction to the invasion attacks and the destruction of forests on his social media account: "All political parties and the people should raise their voices against these invasion attacks and the destruction of our forests and nature by the invading Turkish state."


Former Rudaw TV host and KDP parliamentarian shared the following statement on his social media account: “Turkey's armed forces are stealing the Behdinan trees. We have documents proving that the armed forces of the Turkish state cut down the trees in the Sindi region of Zakho and take them to Turkey. Some of the trees are one hundred years old. The Turkish state has cut down all the trees in the Sinaht, Mêrga Şiş, Kelok, Masi Sinda villages of the Sindi region. Our government should use diplomatic and political means to stop it.”

Hevidar Ahmed is known as one of the leading proponents of the KDP. His reaction is considered by many circles as a move for re-election in the upcoming elections. Some attribute this to his close relation with Nechirvan Barzani.


Reactions have also been voiced by many journalists as well as politicians. Mahmut Yasin Kutbi, an Islamic journalist, remarked that cutting down forest trees in Bashur and olive trees in Afrin are no different from cutting down Jerusalem olive trees.

Zana Hesen, from Kurdsat TV, stated that the KDP opened its borders to Turkey to remain in power. In his article, Zana Hesen said, “The KDP and Turkey made an agreement in return for expanding the Barzani family's power. All underground and overground resources of Bashur have been granted to Turkey. This is not just about oil. The region is also rich in iron and other metals. They are pursuing a plan to displace the people so as to plunder the rich resources of the region.”


None of the reactions except that of Rêwing Hirori was covered by the pro-KDP press. As the pro-KDP media ignores the reactions to the Turkish invasion attacks, many people are raising their voices on social media networks.