Police take fingerprints of the entire population in Gever

The North Kurdish resistance province of Hakkari is considered a laboratory for counterinsurgency by the government. Now the complete dactyloscopic recording of the population of the city of Gever has started.

The province of Hakkari (Colemêrg in Kurdish) borders with the Medya Defense Areas and is a stronghold of the Kurdish resistance. In particular, the district town of Gever (Yüksekova) repeatedly made headlines for the revolutionary resistance of its population.

The Turkish state deployed tens of thousands of its soldiers, paramilitaries and secret service agents in the region which is now also known as an “open prison”. As if this were not enough, the Turkish colonial state has gone one step further and has begun to take the fingerprints of the entire population of Gever and Hakkari.

Entire population is recorded

As part of the “My Police Compass” project, the police headquarters in Gever have started to take fingerprints from all family members in Gever. Police forces began this practice in August on family members with disabilities, under the absurd excuse that they would be better able to find them if something happened to them. That this was just a pretext became clear when fingerprints were taken also to all minors in September before finally being extended to the entire population in October.

Hakkari is a counterinsurgency laboratory and a focus of resistance

Talking to ANF, HDP Hakkari MP Sait Dede, criticized the recording as illegal. Dede pointed out that Hakkari is one of the centers of counterinsurgency, annihilation and denial of the Kurdish people. However, the people of the region have never given up resisting oppression and have always resisted with dignity.

People are punished with poverty

Sait Dede said that every regime in Turkey has targeted this region and added: “A large part of Hakkari Province and its county towns have been declared prohibited zones, making it impossible for people to engage in agriculture and animal husbandry. Trade at the border crossings cannot take place either. People are punished with poverty. The main reason for this is that these people do not give up their political stance and keep their own will. Our people have never and never will bow to any economic or political embargo.”

18 civilians murdered by security forces in five years

Recalling that 18 civilians, mostly minors, have been killed by state forces in Hakkari over the past five years, Dede said: “The only thing the state did was to protect the killers. We are dealing with a regime that does not see itself bound by any law or rule.”

Hakkari as a pilot region

Regarding the recording of the population of Gever, Dede said: “Recent events show that the province of Hakkari is being turned into a pilot region. All citizens are being fingerprinted in violation of the law, the constitution and international conventions. It's not enough to surround a town with police stations, set up checkpoints at every turn, it's not enough to evacuate villages, close alpine pastures, ban trade, drive armoured vehicles through the population at full speed, it's not enough to blockade villages and lock people in their homes for days, it is not enough to imprison elected officials, drag them along the ground and mistreat them. Now, the fingerprints of the entire population are being taken.”

First the children, then everyone

Dede underlined that the law describes in detail how and by whom fingerprints can be taken, how this data is to be stored and how it is to be destroyed. “Article 5 of the Law on the Duties and Powers of the Police makes it unlawful to go from house to house and take fingerprints. The state even violates its own laws. The law provides for consent for the collection of fingerprints. The police claim to have received this consent. They move into neighbourhoods with tanks and heavy weapons, take fingerprints and then claim people freely gave consent. Let them set up a table in the market, see how many people will come and voluntarily give them their fingerprints.”