Solidarity Coordination From Cizre To Sur publishes report on Şırnak
Solidarity Coordination From Cizre To Sur published their report following their inquiries in Şırnak, which remained under blockade for months.
The report prepared by the Solidarity Coordination From Cizre To Sur based on observations and inquiries carried out on November 29 and 30 in Şırnak has been announced to the public in a press conference held in Taksim Hill Hotel. The committee included the Peace Bloc, Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP), Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Çağrı Journal and East and Platform of South East Associations led by the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK). The event was held with the motto, “Don’t Abandon Şırnak, Now For Solidarity!” and HDK Co-spokesperson Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, numerous authors, intellectuals, journalists, academics and representatives from institutions also attended.
“AKP INVADED ŞIRNAK”
Hüseyin Koç from Çağrı Journal mentioned the activities of Acar Co. that was given the bids and said that the company destroyed everything. Koç stated that the intention was to change the demographic structure.
SODAP Co-spokesperson Saniye Evren said “AKP invaded Şırnak” and stated that the people of Şırnak had no desire to leave their lands despite the attacks and the blockade.
“THEY WANT SOLIDARITY”
ESP Representative Sedat Şenoğlu said, “In there, either humanity will win, or humanity will lose. They want to feel that they are not abandoned.”
Federation of East and South East Associations Chair Abdulhakim Daş said: “We saw the destruction very clearly. The demolitions continue still. Trucks carry the debris. After the clashes, the company that the bid was given to has carried out demolition work even in neighborhoods with no clashes. It is coming to light that the buildings still standing in the city have been used as headquarters.”
“THE COLLAPSE PLAN”
İHD Administrator Meral Çıldır shared the details on their interviews. Çıldır said the number of people killed in clashes was not clear and there were many bodies still not retrieved from scenes.
Solidarity Coordination From Cizre To Sur member and HDK Executive Council member Benazir Coşkun stated that the Collapse Plan had been implemented to a great extent in Şırnak and its districts. Mentioning their numerous interviews with families there, Coşkun said “An old man said, ‘We will never leave Şırnak, even if we end up eating rocks and dirt’ in the first days. You can see this spirit clearly.”
“WE NEED TO EMBRACE THE PEOPLE OF ŞIRNAK”
Coşkun said: “Immediately as you enter Şırnak, you see that no state institution has been demolished. The state sources say the PKK and the YPS did the damage, so how come not a single state institution has been damaged?”. Coşkun stated that Şırnak was trying to self-actualize with very limited resources and there needs to be a serious display of solidarity, and added: “Either we embrace Şırnak like they embraced us, or we will keep silent in the face of the collapse plan.”
DETAILS OF THE REPORT
The report was read by SODAP Co-spokesperson Saniye Evren. The report states that since March 14, 2016, during the clashes and blockade in Şırnak centrum 1800 households and approximately 9800 people were forcibly displaced into Kumçatı town, 500 households and 2500 people into Siirt, 1750 households and 11 thousand people into Silopi, 850 households and 5 thousand people into Uludere, 1300 households and 5 thousand people into Cizre, 250 households and 1400 people into Batman, 200 households and 1500 people into Diyarbakır, 400 households and 3 thousand people into Güçlükonak and 50 households and 250 people into Beytüşşebap.
The report states that during the 9-month long blockade process that took place from March 14 to November 14, according to the damage assessment commission under the Environment and Urbanism Provincial Directorate reports, 14.727 houses were assessed for damage and 2.044 houses were determined to be demolished.
The report also shared the following:
“During these search efforts behind the high-rise concrete blocks, the writing over the entrance blocks, ‘Şırnak is a Turkish city’ can be read as exposing the state’s one-nation mentality approach towards Şırnak. The political reasoning and the ultimate goal of the decision to demolish Şırnak, which is known for its almost all-Kurdish population is exposed in this one-sentence statement.
From our entry into Şırnak under the shadow of this statement, until the residence of HDP Şırnak MP Aycan İrmez who greeted us and would be the guide for our delegation, we witnessed great destruction. Along with a Cizre resident accompanying us in our vehicle informing us, we learned that all HDP and DBP buildings, all cultural and NGO buildings had been demolished, but no state institution had been damaged in the slightest. The following day, this piece of information was confirmed in the observations we made on November 30, 2016.
When we arrived at the residence of HDP Şırnak MP Aycan İrmez, we received information from the crisis coordination set up for Şırnak on the events of the past 9 months and the ongoing process and we exchanged opinions.
Alongside the goals to the politically motivated demolition and destruction of memory, in a brochure disseminated by the Governorate that we acquired a copy of, we have learned of an extensive construction project that has been implemented with the slogan ‘We’re Building A Modern And Livable Şırnak’. Among the information we gathered is that the bid opened in this scope will be implemented through the Acar Co. from Şırnak that is known for their ties to the state and the AKP government. In some interviews conducted with some families over the brochures, we have learned that they can buy the ‘new’ apartments to be built on their property, if they sign the contracts allegedly worth 60 to 70 thousand liras.
At this point it would be useful to share this piece of information: The Şırnak Municipality before the usurpation of will with the appointment of trustees, and the Rojava Association before it was shut down under the Statutory Decree had several housing plans for Şırnak. The mentality that couldn’t even tolerate the people of Şırnak living in tents in their own homeland similarly vetoed this housing project and has appointed trustees to the Şırnak Municipality. Against all obstruction, housing efforts for 300 families in various towns and villages of Şırnak continue with no profit relationship whatsoever.
After our interviews with HDP Şırnak MP Aycan İrmez and her accompanying delegation were complete, we met with Şırnak Eğitim-Sen Union Branch Chair. As stated above, we had to hold all our meetings in houses because all buildings belonging to parties HDP and DBP and all NGOs in the socio-cultural sphere of activity have been demolished.
We have learned that the approach towards Eğitim-Sen, a union that has many members facing expulsion as a result of the Statutory Decree administration implemented with the declaration of the State of Emergency, continues in Şırnak and the right to education has been obstructed. According to people’s accounts, with the demolition and forced relocation policy in Şırnak city center, some 5 thousand students are left where there used to be close to 15 thousand. Similarly, as of now, out of the 35 schools that served for education before March 14, 2016, 10 to 15 are still active. State forces are still positioned in most of these schools. In schools where education continues, it has been determined that the state forces still enter all the way inside the schools and education continues under the shadow of “security”. As accounts show, this situation creates pressure on not just the students, but the teachers as well. This atmosphere of pressure has also increased the obstacles over unionization rights.
The meetings we held on November 29, 2016 ended after the meeting with Eğitim-Sen due to the continuation of the blockade and the possible safety problems when going out at night.
November 30, 2016 started with observations in Şırnak’s largest neighborhood and the city’s center Cumhuriyet neighborhood. According to information provided to us, a wide-scale destruction took place in 8 of Şırnak’s 12 neighborhoods (Cumhuriyet, Bahçelievler, Yeni neighborhood, Şehri Nu, Gündoğdu, Dicle, Aydınlıkevler, Yeşilyurt ). When we arrived in Cumhuriyet neighborhood, we found a desert of concrete where not even the debris was left. We have since confirmed that the source of the mounds of iron carried with debris trucks we saw on our way to Şırnak is this region. The Cumhuriyet neighborhood is so demolished that the residents cannot find where their homes or streets were, and demolition continues with state-owned construction machinery under armed protection from state forces. We were greeted with the same situation in Bahçelievler and Yeni neighborhood as well. There are a few homes left undemolished in the Yeni neighborhood region. When we visit the houses for our inquiry, we received detailed information from the owner. He said that even though there was no decree for demolishing his house, the diggers were about to start when he got there at the last minute. When we inspected the house, we found that there were no damages except for the signs of deliberate battery. The house was undamaged including fragile materials like the ceramic tiles and windows. Meanwhile, we learned that the family who owned the house attempted to be demolished had a son killed during the self-determination process. The family went through a long process, then in the end received an answer from the coroner’s office, and thus received the body of their son. Similarly in all interviews we conducted in the field, citizens stated that they received the brochures we had and they were told that their homes would be returned to them for a sum of some 60 to 70 thousand liras.
In Şırnak, there are still house goods and school books like “Democracy and Citizenship Education” under the rubble. The neighborhoods have been turned to ruins and deserts. After our visits in these neighborhoods, we visit the families who lost their children during the blockade process, were forced into a great poverty, were affected by the ammunition residue and never left Şırnak for the full course of the 9-month long blockade.
First, it’s necessary to say that Şırnak is a city built on mountainous terrain, so the effects of winter have started to be felt. The winters in the city are very rough. This fact in itself creates a very difficult situation for the families, especially considering the scope of the destruction.”
The results section of the report included the following:
“The report can reflect only an extremely limited selection of events that transpired in Şırnak. Along with our observations and interviews, during our time in Şırnak we have confirmed that all stages of the ‘Collapse Plan’ of the March 2014 National Security Council Decree are in motion. After Israel’s invasion of Palestine, it was said for Palestine that “There was a Palestine, there is a Palestine still.” In the aftermath of a (still ongoing) destruction, it wouldn’t be wrong to say “There was a Şırnak”. But the stance of the people of Şırnak, despite the attempts at destroying the truth and the memory, their embrace of us who came to the region from the metropolitan cities of Turkey also confirms that “There is a Şırnak still” strongly. Alongside rightful resentment voiced especially towards the forces of democracy and the peoples in Turkey, there is a Şırnak that still has a very strong resistance, along with great ruins, poverty and deprivation.
The following are the basic needs and facts determined by our delegation regarding Şırnak.
- Solidarity with Şırnak needs to be increased on every platform. Strong means of solidarity should show that Şırnak is not alone.
- Considering that the damage assessment efforts are incomplete due to a lack of engineers and architects in the region, an urgent delegation of architects and engineers should go to Şırnak and devise a plan for work.
- Expert groups, especially health workers, education workers, women’s and children’s therapists who speak the languages of the region, should go to the region and devise a plan for work to show solidarity with the peoples of the region and report on the rights violations.
- People from all social groups, political parties, NGOs and DMOs, intellectuals, writers and other such persons should go to Şırnak to show solidarity and tell the national and international public about the blockade process.
- In order to tend the wounds of the people of the region swiftly, the trustees appointed in an usurpation of will should immediately step down and the Şırnak Municipality should be allowed to work with their own employees, far from any threats of detention or arrest.
- The decree to shut down Rojava Support and Solidarity Association that displayed great solidarity with the demolition areas should be immediately reversed.
- The right to education should be exercised away from the shadow of guns, in a scientific and equal manner, without cost and in the mother tongue. State forces should clear out of all schools in Şırnak city center.
- The demolition in Şırnak should stop immediately. The bid that was planned over garnering profits should be cancelled and the people of Şırnak should receive compensation for damages.
- The dozens of bodies yet to be identified and are not allowed to be identified should immediately be handed over to families for the right to a funeral.
- Considering that in Şırnak, there is a shortage of every supply imaginable, material solidarity should be increased, focusing immediately on heaters and winter supplies.
- The Sister Family For Şırnak campaign should be widened urgently. It needs to be seen that standing shoulder to shoulder with Şırnak not just in the material sense, but also in the spiritual sense, is of vital importance.