forest fires in bakur

The statement recalled that forests are burning again in several provinces of Bakur (North Kurdistan) since June 2016, noting that these forest fires are occurring in areas where governors have declared no-go zones for the population and military operations are conducted. The Ecology Movement called on all activists and organizations in Turkey and abroad to join a delegation to investigate and take action against these spreading forest fires.

“It is not an accident that the forest fires occur in the rainless summer and in the framework of larger military operations of the Turkish Army against the PKK guerrilla in the forested mountains. According to many villagers in the affected areas, around 10.000 hectares of forests have been torched by the Turkish military in 2015. Particularly around military stations forest fires have been started systematically and as a result of the spreading fires gardens and fields of dozens of villages have been affected.”

The Ecology Movement stated that the ongoing forests fires concentrate in Amed’s Lice district, but there are news and images showing that some other districts and the provinces of Colemêrg, Şirnex, Sêrt and Mêrdîn‎ are also affected seriously.

Also citing reports of human rights violations against the affected local population that has even been forced by the Turkish military to flee from at least eight villages around Lice, the statement said; “All efforts of locals, local municipalities and people from bigger cities to extinguish the fires have been impeded by the military. The only statement of central government officials is that there are some fires on fields with cannabis.”

In order to investigate the ecological destruction through forest fires, which threatens also the livelihoods of locals, Mesopotamian Ecology Movement called upon on ecologists, human right defenders and other engaged people and organizations from international level and Western Turkey to form a delegation between July 23 and 25 in the Kurdish region.

Beginning in the Amed province, the delegation will go to areas affected by forest fires, do on site researches and speak to local people and organizations. The Movement invited all the interested to Amed in the morning of the 23rd July.