Bilgiç: The 'Sri Lanka model' has already been applied to the Kurds for centuries

Ecologist Murat Bilgiç said that ecocide in Kurdistan was given priority in order to eliminate the Kurds since the Turkish state was founded. He pointed out that the 'Sri Lanka model' promoted by the Turkish government has already been applied to Kurds.

The nature of Kurdistan is being plundered by the Turkish state and its criminal networks. All plants in forests, plateaus and rural areas are destroyed without considering the seasonal conditions. The destruction of the nature of Kurdistan -a special war policy- is carried out as a part of the all-out attacks against the Kurdish people.

Ecologist Murat Bilgiç spoke to ANF about the reasons and purposes of the ecocide in Kurdistan by the Turkish state.

Bilgiç pointed out that the destruction of nature in Kurdistan is generally considered as a recent phenomenon. However, he stated that attacks on rural areas in the Kurdish lands have a long history, dating back to the establishment of the republic in Turkey.


Bilgiç remarked that after the establishment of a republican regime in Turkey, a policy of annihilation was introduced against all ethnic groups other than the Turks. “They started to regard everyone other than Turks either as slaves or as communities that deserved death. The early republic suppressed the Şêx Said, Seyîd Rıza, Agirî and Koçgirî revolts, yet they knew that they still did not achieve a 'permanent success'. Afterwards, they came to realize that nature was in favour of the Kurds and prepared reports about it. The most striking conclusion in these reports was that 'Their nature protects them'. The nature of Kurdistan has such unique features that those living there can meet their needs for years without support from the outside world. For this reason, reports recommended that the destruction of the nature of the Kurds should be given priority.”

Bilgiç continued, “Their attacks against nature peaked in some periods. Kurdish villages were burned down and evacuated. Burning villages is also an ecological destruction. Entrances to those zones were blocked for decades. Moreover, the plundering of trees and other plants became systematic as burning down and evacuating the villages was no solution for them. Also, people came back to their villages when suitable conditions were provided as nature preserved its existence. Therefore, they wanted to eliminate nature completely and resolve the problem in their own way.”


Bilgiç pointed out that forest fires and felling of trees became widespread in Kurdistan after 2009. “In 2009, Turkish officials disseminated the propaganda that a 'permanent victory' had been achieved in Sri Lanka against the Tamil Tigers. It was called the 'Sri Lanka model'. This model was also presented to the Turkish president of the time in 2012. The Turkish state was convinced of this model with a metaphor: ‘the lake should be dried up so the fish will naturally die’. I am pretty sure that Turkish officials were not impressed by this presentation. Because this model has already been used against the Kurds for centuries. However, the Sri Lankan model somehow gained international legitimacy. Therefore, this model has been employed more against communities fighting for their rights and freedom. Thus, construction of dams and military posts, forest fires, tree cutting and other practices that plunder nature have become widespread.


Bilgiç emphasized that intervening in nature generally paves the way for a danger not only at the regional but also at the global level: “Forests are a part of ecology. The water and air crises are linked to forests. Forests are the habitat of many living things other than humans. These creatures need to live in their own habitat. When their habitat is destroyed, they become extinct. However, they do not see what kind of ecological danger this will cause. Racism has blinded them in such a way that even if the whole world is affected by this ecological destruction, they do not care about it because they do not want the Kurds to gain anything. The ecological destruction that the world may experience does not concern them. Therefore, it is necessary to take a serious stand against this natural destruction. Recent reactions are, of course, valuable, but they are not enough. To preserve life, reactions should continue. Action should be introduced to stop all these atrocities through further organization.”


Bilgiç criticized ecological institutions and organizations in regions outside Kurdistan which remain silent on the acts of the Turkish state when it comes to the Kurds. “Unfortunately, when Turkish officials cite 'security concerns' for the plunder of nature in Kurdistan, ecological associations in Turkey believe it. However, they need to question why the way the Kurds maintain their lives disturbs the Turkish state and their nature is destroyed because of so-called security concerns. For example, Greenpeace remained silent towards the ecological massacre in Kurdistan, saying that it was not their area of ​​expertise. There is no need for expertise in a place where trees are cut down. This is not a convincing approach at all. Greenpeace even took part in activities to combat forest fires in Turkey. But when it comes to Kurdistan, we see that they do not think differently from the dominant system.”