Turkish state plunders Şenyayla Plateau to build a military base

Forests in the Şenyayla Plateau, located between Amed and Muş, are being cleared by the Turkish army to build a military base.

The Turkish state is looting the Şenyayla (Şênê) Plateau, a large region at the foothills of the Andok, Serê Spi, Warê Şêra and Dorşin mountains.

After the 1980s, the Turkish state resorted to terror in the region, forcing the local population to migrate by citing "security concerns".

During a period of relative peace and quiet between 2013 and 2015, some citizens returned to their original settlements in the region, which is also frequented by nomads.

Known for its plant diversity and cold waters, the Şenyayla Plateau has been systematically banned under the name of "special security zone" since 2015.

Until 2021, the Şenyayla region affected by the destruction of nature belonged to the Kulp district and thus lay within the provincial borders of Amed (Diyarbakır). In March 2021, head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had the region separated from Kulp by decree. Since then, Şenyayla has been part of the Muş province.

Targeted by the state’s special policies, the plateau is facing destruction due to the intended establishment of a military zone.

The Turkish state has started to plunder the forests with the help of village guards. The construction of two military bases began last year.

The felled trees are transported to different regions and sold for profit. Images from the ground reveal that a large forest area has been destroyed during the ongoing process.

According to the Mesopotamia News Agency, a local resident wishing to remain anonymous for security reasons, said: "We went to the regimental command in the centre of Muş province in March this year to complain about the tree cutting. The Regimental Commander told us: ‘We will build two bases. Either you cut the trees down or we do’.”

The same source revealed that the tree cutting has continued since October last year: “The tree cutting has stopped now. The trees that have been felled since February are transported to other places. Trees are cut down by a village guard named Ü.K. from Kizilagac town. The shipping is taken care of by another person named Y.Ç. The felled trees are transported to the surrounding provinces such as Agri, Muş, Amed, Urfa and especially Batman by truck.”

The so-called village guards are likely to serve as the military's henchmen for the environmental massacre in Muş. As early as 2020, when Şenyayla was still part of Kulp, a paramilitary unit based in the region had cut down around a thousand oak trees on a forested area on the edge of a restricted military area on behalf of the Turkish army. In other provinces as well, especially in Şırnak, the army is using village guards to clear forest stands for the expansion of its military infrastructure in Kurdistan.