KCK warns of depopulation after earthquake: Kurdish-Alevi people should not leave their homeland

The epicentre of the earthquake was in Maraş, a Kurdish-Alevi region where mass emigration had been triggered by the 1978 pogrom. The depopulation is now to continue, warns the KCK, calling for resistance.

After the severe earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border region, further areas of Kurdistan are threatened with depopulation. The epicentre was in a region with a high Alevi population, and people have lost their livelihoods. In response to an ANF request, the Committee for International and Religious Affairs of the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) commented on the issue. The committee points to the Turkish state's policy aiming at genocide and calls on the Kurdish-Alevi population not to leave their homeland and not to give up their identity.


Regarding the earthquake disaster and the state's responsibility for the consequences, the KCK committee stated: "An earthquake is undoubtedly a natural disaster. Nature, of which we are a part and in which we live, has a functioning order. It is in constant motion and tries to establish its own balance according to its own language. In this respect, the earthquake is something natural. What is unnatural is the way the human species reacts to this earthquake. It is not normal for humans to experience the destructive consequences of earthquakes on such a scale, even though the fault lines are known and even the location and magnitude of possible earthquakes can be predicted. Again, there is no doubt that the state, which has usurped society's right to self-government and monopolised all spheres of life, is responsible. The state is responsible for organising the settlements where social life takes place. Therefore, the Republic of Turkey is responsible for the consequences of the two earthquakes with epicentre in Maraş. So many people were killed because the necessary precautions were not taken, and the killer is the Republic of Turkey under the capitalist, money-grubbing and immoral AKP/MHP government. It allowed the construction of unsuitable areas for profit, enforced amnesties as construction peace several times, did not take precautionary measures and ignored the prescribed requirements in the earthquake areas in Kurdistan and Turkey. There is no doubt that the government must be held accountable for this painful and shocking picture," the committee stated.


“Beyond this direct responsibility for the consequences of the earthquake, the government once again shows "how base, selfish and misanthropic it is by not providing the necessary help to the people in the destroyed places and by preventing people who want to help from doing so. Even in this apocalyptic situation, the government is only concerned with maintaining its own power, the KCK committee stressed, adding:

"As we know, the epicentre of the earthquakes was in a region with a high Kurdish-Alevi population density. The people in the earthquake area say that the reason why the Republic of Turkey, which boasts of being one of the most powerful states in the world, is giving them aid and even preventing aid from social groups and our people is because they are Kurdish and Alevi. This is a fact, because the Turkish Republic has had only one policy towards these two identities since the day of its foundation: genocide. The Kurdish people have been subjected to physical genocide for a hundred years and are wanted to be destroyed by a cultural genocide through dissolution within Turkishness. Alevism is a faith that is wanted to be melted down and destroyed within the Turkish Islamist nation state. The reason why the aid mobilised after the earthquake is blocked is the Kurdish-Alevi identity of the population in the affected regions. This identity is wanted to be destroyed and the destruction and death toll caused by the earthquake is seen by the government as a convenient opportunity for its genocidal policy. This is because this government sees the people of this region as an enemy that must be destroyed. So, the fact that the state is abandoning the people affected by the earthquake is not the result of impossibilities, but of a very deliberate and planned genocidal policy.


This is a hundred-year-old state policy. As is well known, immediately after the founding of the PKK in December 1978, a large-scale pogrom was carried out to purge Maraş of its Kurdish and Alevi population. More than a thousand people were brutally massacred while the rest fled the country. Even then, the local population was asked to leave Kurdistan through threats, blackmail and pressure. This was done both through facilitation of departure by the Turkish state and the willingness of some European states to take in people who were cooperating with Turkey. What actually happened was the implementation of a Gladio plan. The aim was to prevent our developing movement from gaining a foothold in the Kurdish-Alevi areas. In this region, a policy of genocide and depopulation was being pursued with both historical and contemporary aims, and to a certain extent it was successful. A very large part of the population living in this region emigrated from their ancestral land of Kurdistan to the metropolises of Turkey, but above all also to Europe.


The current events show that this unfinished policy of genocide and expulsion is wanted to be completed on the occasion of the earthquake. In the current situation, everything is being done to make the Kurdish-Alevi population leave the earthquake area permanently. By not helping and, moreover, by preventing non-governmental aid from arriving, a signal is being sent to the people: ‘There is no more life here'. In this way, the centuries-old policy of forced emigration is to be completed. The places where Kurdish Alevis live are being depopulated. In their place, the 'migrants' instrumentalised by the Turkish state are wanted to be settled. It was reported in the media some time ago that camps for Sunni Arab immigrants are being set up in Maraş, where the entire population is Kurdish and Alevi. This alone shows what policy is being pursued with regard to the Kurdish-Alevi settlement areas and what kind of demographic change is being sought. Now the earthquake is sought to be used as an opportunity to bring this systematic policy of expulsion and genocide to a final conclusion."


The KCK Committee appealed to the Kurdish-Alevi population to be aware of this policy and to thwart it by not leaving their ancestral homeland, by remaining attached to their country and culture and by resisting. The entire Kurdish people and all democratic circles have the task of supporting this resistance, it noted.

The statement continued: “The earthquake has shown how anti-social the state is, how immoral and greedy the AKP/MHP government is and how solidary and resistant society is. On the one hand, there is a shame that cannot be put into words, and on the other hand, a virtue that all humanity can be proud of. On the one hand, there are creatures who pretend to be human but have long since ceased to be human, and on the other, the most beautiful and indispensable examples of solidarity in human life. The whole world has seen these antitheses".


The KCK committee pointed out that: “Now is the time to strengthen the spirit of solidarity and unity, heal the wounds in the earthquake zones and intensify mobilisation to overcome the problems. Solidarity should be such that people do not have to leave their homes. Solidarity is necessary for the reconstruction of the destroyed settlements in more suitable places and in a robust manner. For this purpose, labour collectives can be formed, houses can be built, the necessary financial aid can be provided and housing can be rebuilt in a suitable manner and under the possible conditions. There is nothing that society cannot do if it joins forces, as the greatest power is society itself. It is enough to free ourselves from the individualistic life that capitalist modernity imposes on us and from the exploitation by the colonialist-genocidal regime that distances peoples from each other. After the earthquake, people from all social classes in Turkey immediately came to the disaster area to help. This showed once again how unsuccessful capitalist modernity and the regime are and how powerful society is. Everyone saw how helpless, weak and selfish the rulers are and how solidary, sensitive and communal society is. It became clear once again how alive the communal and social nature of human beings is despite all attacks. We can alleviate all pain and overcome all difficulties by leaning on social society and letting it grow. Undoubtedly, democratic politics has much to do in this regard. Because it is very important and necessary to organise this solidarity network. Democratic politics means solving the problems of society. It is the task of politics to organise solidarity and togetherness in society. The sensitivity and determination so far show that this can be done. Therefore, as social forces, we must do everything ourselves without expecting anything from the anti-life, anti-nature, anti-society and anti-human rulers and the state.


Furthermore, we must fight against the state and the government who are responsible for this destruction. We must demand accountability by fighting back. We must hold them accountable for their actions so that we can guarantee our nature, ourselves and the lives of all peoples. Otherwise, Turkey and Kurdistan, as an earthquake country, will experience many similar destructions."