Attacks by Turkish soldiers on refugees are increasing

Attacks by Turkish soldiers on refugees are increasing in Wan. Many refugees have been injured, sexually assaulted and killed as a result of the attack by Turkish soldiers.

The Wan-East Kurdistan (Iran) border has become the death border for refugees. In recent years, many refugees lost their lives and were injured when Turkish and Iranian soldiers opened fire on them on the border. Human smuggling in Iran is carried out in cooperation with Turkish soldiers and human traffickers. Soldiers and traffickers bring refugees across the border to Wan (Van in Turkish) and its districts in exchange for money. Hundreds of refugees brought by vehicle died as a result of traffic accidents. In addition, in the winter months, many refugees froze to death on the Wan-East Kurdistan border due to the cold. This border has turned into a death journey for refugees, but it has also become a source of money for Turkish soldiers and human traffickers.

The districts of Özalp, Başkale and Çaldıran are transit points for refugees. A kilometre-long wall has been built by the Turkish state on the borders of these three districts. In addition to the walls, hundreds of police stations, fortresses and watchtowers were built. Yet, hundreds of refugees are still crossed over by human traffickers on almost a daily basis. Turkish soldiers allow passage by taking money from refugees and human traffickers.

Sexually attacked by soldiers

Two refugees lost their lives and 6 people were injured when the police opened fire on the minibus carrying refugees at the police checkpoint in the Özalp district of Wan. No investigation was opened against the police officers involved in the incident. On 4 July 2022, in Karahisar, 3 people, including a 4-year-old child and a woman, lost their lives and 7 other people were injured as a result of a gendarmerie attack on a minibus carrying refugees. No investigation was initiated against the soldiers who committed the massacre.

In the Saray district of Wan, Afghan national Leyla M. was sexually assaulted by Turkish soldiers on 4 January. After the incident emerged, a confidential decision was made for the file. Iranian Z.M., who was kept in quarantine for precautionary purposes on 22 July 2020 at Kurubaş Removal Center affiliated to Van Provincial Immigration Administration was sexually assaulted by two security guards.

At least 50 refugees froze to death while trying to cross the border in Wan, 68 drowned in Lake Wan, 45 died in traffic accidents and 5 died as a result of firearms. Today, nearly 300 immigrants are buried in the cemetery in Wan.