Fifty villages to be flooded by a dam project in Amed

The Geliyê Godernê region in Amed, which has been inhabited since ancient times, is being depopulated for a dam project and fifty villages are to be flooded. The people are resisting expulsion and military violence.

The Geliyê Godernê area in the northern Kurdish province of Amed (tr. Diyarbakir) is being razed to the ground due to a dam project. The valley lies at the intersection of the districts of Silvan, Kulp, Hazro and is a natural area with a rich ecosystem and a past dating back to ancient times. The Taşköprü Bridge, built during the reign of Abdulhamid II, was recently blown up and is to be flooded along with fifty villages.

Qokan and Kerika are two of these villages. The population wants to stay, but fields are already flooded. Maşallah Karaman speaks of land theft and describes the situation in his village as follows: "They come to our village with soldiers and take our land by military force. We don't want to leave the village, we want to stay on our land. The state confiscates thousands of hectares of our land and sacrifices it to the dam. They don't leave any flowers or trees standing, all nature is being destroyed. They invade our land with soldiers and excavators. My children and I have toiled on these fields for years. As there is no work here, my children go to work on construction sites in the western provinces and ruin their health. Why do our children have to waste their labour in the west when we have land here? I will not leave my village. They want us to leave our land and go away. We will not go anywhere, we will continue to farm our land despite them. They are not human beings and do not know what honour and human dignity mean."

Arzu Karaman, who also lives in the village, said: "This dam is destroying everything, the trees, the animals and the history. We have been resisting it for many years, but nobody listens to us. Nobody cares about the people's resistance. Nobody listens to the voice of these people. Recently they brought a battalion of soldiers onto our land. We protested and argued, but the soldiers pushed us and insulted us. We made video recordings, which they forcibly deleted from our mobile phones. What has to happen for someone to react to something like that? The soldiers of the state come here and threaten our mothers. From digger drivers to lorry drivers, none of them are ashamed, none of them ask themselves what they are actually doing here. They are all Kurds, they were all born and raised in this country. It's a disgrace, a sin. How can they deny their honour? When we react, they say: ‘We are Kurds too’. You are not Kurds at all. A Kurd does not massacre his country. The mothers from our village guard the land. Every time, soldiers come and chase them away. They insult our mothers. How can we stand by and watch this? There should be an outcry, but they have sent soldiers here so that we don't raise our voices. They want to intimidate us and have completely looted our land. We want this massacre to stop. Our people must never allow this to happen. No one should sell their land for money. Let's protect our land and our nature. We must not give up our land and our nature."