Hakkari and Van victims of enviromental destruction

The chairman of the monument protection association ÇEV-DER reports on systematic environmental destruction by mining companies and dams in the northern Kurdish provinces of Hakkari and Van.

The Northern Kurdish provinces of Hakkari and Van were focal points of the Turkish special war. Due to dam projects, many valleys are flooded for strategic military reasons. At the same time, nature is being exploited colonially by the Turkish state and its profiteers, but also by international corporations.

German companies involved in mining

Ali Kalçık, chairman of the monument protection association ÇEV-DER in Van, spoke about this situation with ANF.

Kalçık said that companies from over sixty countries, including the United States, Canada, France and Germany, are involved in mining in Hakkari. The land of the rural population is occupied and made available to the companies.

"The villagers are not even allowed to enter the areas where the mines are being built. And this despite the fact that they own the land,” explained Kalçık, adding: "That's just wrong. Mining destroys the beauty of nature and the habitat of animals. Above this, the rubble and sewage from the mines is dumped into the Zap River. This poisons the river."

Kalçık added: "Every year new tenders are held and new areas are made available to these companies. New places are always left to the companies and they are destroyed. This is just terrible. Not only human life, all forms of life are threatened. There is real devastation on Mount Cilo, Sümbül and Meskan. The mountains are perforated, and labyrinths of tunnels are built into which even trucks can drive. The Zap Valley and its waters are being polluted by mines. As ÇEV-DER we showed solidarity with the civil society organizations in Hakkari. We also appeal to the environmental associations in the region as well as throughout Turkey. We want them to stand up against this devastation."

Marble quarry in Zîlan Gorge

The Zîlan Gorge in the northern Kurdish province of Van is also under acute threat. The historical site of the Zîlan massacre, with its unique nature, has already been greatly destroyed in recent years by a large number of dams. Now nature is being dealt its death blow by a marble quarry.

Kalçık explained: "We have conducted investigations in the Zîlan Gorge. We also monitor the completion of the dam projects. We have complained in relation to this. The proceedings are ongoing. During our investigations we found the destruction of the environment by a marble quarry. In particular, we found that the endemic pearl mullet is threatened with extinction due to the marble quarry. The marble quarry in particular poses a major threat to the future of the life forms endemic to the region. Agricultural engineers and lawyers also took part in the investigations that we carried out there. For the future of life in the region, this marble quarry must be closed immediately."