Containers of solidarity associations in earthquake-hit Adıyaman demolished

In Adıyaman, the containers of associations and institutions organising activities for women and children and trying to reduce the traces of the earthquake were demolished by the governorate's orders.

In Adıyaman, associations that rented land to conduct solidarity work for the local people and set up containers and tents after the earthquake on 6 February, have been met with racism. The tents and containers of organisations including Rosa Women's Association, Rengarenk ve Çocukça Association, Disaster Management and Solidarity Association were demolished by police force on 14 December by the orders of Adıyaman Governorate. While the tents and containers were removed on the grounds that "you do not have a residence permit", it was also learnt that the Governorate called the property owner and threatened him by saying "you let terrorists into your land".

While the residents in the neighbourhood reacted strongly to the incident, the volunteers emphasised that they would continue their solidarity with the people.

Cinema artist and painter Mehmet Ünal, who has been voluntarily supporting the local people in the city since 6 February earthquake, stated that the demolition was carried out 3 days ago accompanied by the police and said, "Everything is in order, subscriptions have been made, the property was rented from the owner, the fee has been paid, but they went to the owner and said 'the area was occupied' and made him sign a document for our forced removal. We have been here for months. We have been intertwined with the public for months. While AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) did not come here for weeks, we had already started to touch women and children and heal their wounds. They also saw how we had established a strong network and bond with the people. AFAD teams came with the police and started the demolition without listening to us. We could not even unload our belongings."

Ünal stated that the land had nothing to do with the governorship but was private property, and said, "But the governorship interfered with us as if it was its own property. They told the property owner 'you have settled terrorists there'. It is clear what we are and what we do. We have been doing activities for children here for months. We have been giving painting and music lessons to children and trying to reduce the effects of their traumas. At the same time, KA-DER has been organising language trainings here. They could not tolerate it. Even the smiling faces of women and children make them uncomfortable... We have been carrying out activities especially for women and children because they are the ones who suffer the most in every incident. I was also giving painting lessons to children. I came here from Istanbul and became a partner in this solidarity network. I am also from here, so I am also an earthquake victim."

Ünal concluded: "They will not deter us. We will find another place, place our containers and start our work again. The people came and reacted against the police here, they opposed them alongside us. As long as the people want our support, we will realise this. We will continue to make children smile. We will continue to create breathing spaces for women. We are all working here voluntarily, no one has any other concerns. They might intimidate the property owners, but they cannot intimidate us. We will continue our work in our new place in a stronger way."