Mesopotamia Migration Platform warns against depopulation of Kurdistan

The Mesopotamia Migration Platform provided information about the state's policy of displacement and warned against the depopulation of Kurdistan.

At a press conference in Amed (tr. Diyarbakir), the Mesopotamia Migration Platform provided information about the increasing migration from Kurdistan and Turkey to Europe. The platform brings together several associations working on flight and migration, including the Göçiz-Der association and organizations from the Serhed region in Northern Kurdistan (south-eastern Turkey) and the Çukurova plain in southern Turkey. Representatives of the HEDEP (Peoples’ Party for Equality and Democracy), DBP (Democratic Regions Party) and the ÖHD (Association of Lawyers for Freedom) also took part in the press conference.

Medya Alkan, co-chair of the Mesopotamia Migration Platform, stated that the Kurdish population has long been affected by forced migration and displacement and that this policy has a negative impact on Kurdish identity and culture. “There are political and economic reasons for the migration movements, but the driving factor is the state's special war policy. The appointment of trustees to municipalities in the Kurdish region since 2016, statutory decrees, declaration of special security zones in rural areas, the economic crisis, dragging of Kurdish youngsters into the trap of drugs and prostitution and the policies for the legitimization of violence against women and femicides have become continuous and commonplace," said Alkan.

51,000 asylum applications in Europe within nine months

According to Medya Alkan, the number of asylum applications by people from Turkey in Europe, which stood at 9,675 in 2016, rose to 51,415 in the first nine months of 2023. This means that an average of almost 6,000 people apply for asylum in Europe every month, and Kurds make up 80 percent of this figure, Alkan noted.

"The fact that human trafficking gangs are increasing day by day in Kurdistan and the Turkish metropolises, that they smuggle people into Europe for 7,000 or 5,000 euros, sometimes even with debts, and that they do this work easily and continuously, is an issue that needs to be thought about,” said Alkan and emphasized that it is essential to stand against such policies as displacement is widely legitimized.

Alkan pointed out that efforts are being made to depopulate Kurdistan and erase its memory by this deliberate policy. He also spoke about the difficulties people face during and after their flight.

Alkan remarked that the expulsion policy exacerbates the problems of the Kurdish people, stating: "We are not condemned to migration and expulsion. On the contrary, it is our fundamental and humanitarian task to build our own economy with our own language, culture and identity in our own country and to fight for our neighborhood, our city, our nature and our future."

DBP Amed Co-Chair Mehmet Şirin Gürbüz emphasized that Kurds abroad should return to their country. Pointing out that Kurds have been massacred for centuries, Gürbüz said, "The occupying system, the enemy of the Kurds, imposes either death or migration on Kurds. Kurds resist and continue their lives. These migration policies should not prevent us. Let us return to our our lands. We need to establish our free life and make Kurdistan flourish."

HEDEP Amed Provincial Co-Chair Abbas Şahin said, "We are facing a very dangerous implementation of the policy of denial that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. With the policies implemented in the last 4-5 years, they have pursued policies to make their own people migrate in order to turn the migrations in the Middle East in their favor," and called on the people to stay in their own lands.