Hundreds of thousands homeless as Turkey’s southeast lay in ruins

A woman carries her belongings in Diyarbakir's Sur disrict.
A woman carries her belongings in Diyarbakir's Sur disrict.


Date posted: December 6, 2016

When the residents of Sirnak returned to the city last month after Turkish authorities lifted eight-month curfew during intense urban fighting between the Turkish security forces and Kurdish insurgents, they were shocked with what they saw: there was no home where they left.

Many captured with cellphones the moment of shock and disappointment of people desperately seeking to pinpoint their houses through mountain of rubbles. Dozens of streets, many neighborhoods and thousands of homes, buildings were leveled to the ground after months of ferocious fighting between the army and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in urban areas.

Amnesty International recently published a detailed report about the mass displacement of Kurds in Diyarbakir and offered a vivid account of “the desperate plight of families forces out of the historical centre of Diyarbakir,” Sur, the old part of the city.

The report came as hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced over the past two years across the region and need to adapt themselves to dire conditions as cold winter took rein in the region.

“Homes in the once-bustling district have been destroyed by shelling, demolished and expropriated to pave the way for a redevelopment project that very few former residents are likely to benefit from,” the report said.

“A year after a round-the-clock curfew was imposed in Sur, thousands of people displaced from their homes, struggling to make ends meet and facing an uncertain future in an increasingly repressive atmosphere,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said over the mostly underreported issue.

He argued that forced displacement, which has devastated the lives of ordinary people, was little covered in the media while there was intense coverage of the crackdown against civil society in southeastern Turkey.

Several residents of Sur found their homes destroyed, belongings either possessed by authorities or burnt, when they returned to the area where they live after curfews lifted. Although clashes ended eighth months ago, the government does not allow residents return home, and some people who were able to somehow return to their neighborhoods, only to find their homes destroyed.

In return for their loss, residents who spoke to Amnesty International say they got little as compensation, far from what their property really worth.

Last year, a two-year fragile truce collapsed between the Turkish government and PKK militants after peace process launched by the authorities dramatically ended without substantial success.

PKK used that period to establish itself in cities and prepared for the day when the truce appeared to be bound to fail. Its decision to bring the war to cities also sparked resentment among Kurds who were used to support Kurdish political parties, and even tolerate PKK’s violent tactics against the state for its repression of the population.

“Shockingly, the desperate situation facing the displaced resident of Sur is mirrored in dozens of other districts across southeast Turkey. The government must act urgently to lift the curfew, ensure affected communities are fully compensated and either helped to return to what remains of their homes or, at the very least, to their neighborhoods,” the director told Amnesty International.

Source: Turkey Times , December 6, 2016


Related News

Malaysia: Turkish wives say husbands not terrorists, want them released

Speaking to reporters, Ayse said it was “completely unacceptable” that the Malaysian government would accuse her husband of having links to the IS. “Even if they accuse him for other things it would still be acceptable but they’ve accused him of an unreasonable and terrible thing like being involved with murderers,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Ex-ministers call on gov’t to abandon efforts to shut down Turkish schools

Reactions are growing in the face of the government’s effort to close Turkish schools abroad that are affiliated with the Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The aftermath of the failed Turkey coup: Torture, beatings and rape

The Turkish government has embarked on a crackdown of exceptional proportions, targeting people it accuses of being linked to Fethullah Gülen – a Turkish cleric in exile in the US, who the government accuse of masterminding the failed coup on 15 July 2016. More than 10,000 people have been detained since the attempted coup and […]

Deputy PM says image of gov’t-Hizmet fight ugly

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç on Monday said the image of a fight between his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and Hizmet movement is very ugly, adding that the government has never wanted to reach such a point. Speaking on a program on Habertürk TV, he said: “If there are problems, we can […]

Erdogan’s war on education: The exodus of Turkey’s teachers

They were happy when Greek police caught them. “They treated us very well,” Hakan says. “Zehra told us she felt safer spending [several nights] in jail than [she did] in Turkey. She said: ‘The Greek police are keeping us safe from the Turks.'”

Refugees from Erdogan’s Turkey seek to make a new life in Germany

Murat spent six months in a Turkish prison, followed by a considerable time in hiding after his release. As soon as he could, he made good his escape to Germany. As a trained lawyer and legal adviser to an influential association, he had a good life in his home country, living with his family in an upmarket area.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkish women make a difference in Africa

Winds of friendship were enjoyed in different parts of Turkey during the month of Muharram

Anatolia in Los Angeles

Turkey: Post-coup prisoner says threatened with rape, beaten almost to death

PBS airs story on Gülen movement

Turkish evidence for Gulen extradition pre-dates coup attempt

Kenneth Hunter on Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet Movement

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News