Forest fires: for profit in the West, a weapon of war in the East

State forces have been burning forests in Turkey and Kurdistan for years. While it is about profit in western Turkey, it is a war tactic in the East.

In Kurdistan forest fires were used for counterinsurgency for the first time in 1925. At that time it was about the suppression of the Sheik Saîd rebellion. This tactic was continued during the period of Dersim genocide with the Şark Islahat Planı (Eastern Reformation Plan). Especially from the 90s until today, forests are systematically burned down by the state.

Almost every day there are reports of forest fires from the cities of Kurdistan. The forest fires started this summer in Licê and Genç in Amed and Bingöl, followed by the areas of Cûdî, Gabar, Herekol and Besta in Şırnak. The state forces start forest fires deliberately to protect their military bases.

"Habitat is destroyed"

Hewsel Environmental Protection Platform member Necdet Sezgin talked to ANF about the recent wildfires in Kurdistan. Sezgin said: "Like every summer, the forests are burning in Turkey and Kurdistan. With these fires, various problems came to light. The forest fires are reflected as if accidentally."

According to Sezgin, in Western Turkey, it's about opening up areas for profit extraction and the tourism industry. In our region, these fires are started more for safety reasons. For many years, the habitat in this region has been destroyed."

"We are prevented from breathing"

Sezgin describes the forests as habitats: "In the laws of the Republic of Turkey, the forest and the quality of a forested land are described by the occurrence of natural tree species and their conscious use. In fact, we are prevented from breathing. In this sense, every forest is a habitat for us, and we must take up the fight against annihilation, for whatever reason, of these vital areas. As an environmental protection association, we clearly state once again that we stand against these forest fires."

"The goal is to create areas for profit extraction in the West"

Sezgin also referred to the forest fires in the Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean regions, stating, "The main reason for these fires is the search for natural resources or the construction of tourist centers to create reconstruction and employment areas. Whatever the excuses, the people setting fire to forests in western Turkey are not being investigated. There is a veritable system of impunity in this context. This impunity brings along more forest fires."

“The perpetrators are known”

Sezgin concluded, "It's crystal clear that the forest areas are home to an ecosystem. These areas provide habitat for not only humans, but for all living things. We will continue our efforts to protect the habitat of all living things. Those who set fire to the forests here are well known. We stand up for the forest fires to end and for both the state and society to work for extinguishing the fires."