AKP-MHP government is destroying and plundering nature in Mount Cudi

Statement by our Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy:

The AKP-MHP government, which employs aggressive policies to redesign the country in its own image and in line with its political interests, has been destroying and plundering the eco-system, especially in the Kurdish countryside for years. One of the most recent examples of this ecological destruction is taking place on Mount Cudi in the Kurdish province of Şırnak.

The AKP-MHP government’s anti-ecological policies are having devastating consequences all over Turkey. The hydroelectric power plants on the Black Sea, the burned olive groves on the Aegean coast, and the mines destroying soils across the country are all examples of the destruction of nature. In addition to these, in the Kurdish areas, nature has been plundered for years under the pretext of “security” and “fighting terrorism.” According to a report by Şırnak Bar Association, in 2021 alone, military logging destroyed approximately 8 percent of the region’s forests. In the case of Mount Cudi, deforestation goes back two years. This deforestation is taking place in the restricted military areas, where villages were torched and evacuated by the government in the 1990s as part of Turkey’s conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Civilians are not allowed to enter the restricted military areas, and the places where logging is taking place are all depopulated. Agriculture and animal husbandry have already suffered great damage in the region due to war policies against the Kurds, and this deforestation and ecological plunder are multiplying the damage.

On September 17, a protest march led by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), the HDP, the Free Women's Movement (TJA), the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), and the Mesopotamia Ecology Movement, started out towards Mount Cudi to protest against the government's deforestation and war policies. Hundreds of people from Turkey's metropoles, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, met in Şırnak province. However, the gendarmerie prevented the march by attacking the gathered protestors with water cannons and tear gas. After the attack, the protesters, including co-chairs and representatives of institutions and dozens of HDP parliamentarians, staged a sit-in.

The destruction and plundering of nature have been an integral part of Turkey’s “security” policies in Kurdish provinces since the 1990s. To oppose war and militarization in the Kurdish context is therefore to oppose ecological destruction and vice versa. We hereby invite all democratic institutions, and all political parties concerned with environmental justice, especially environmental and ecological organizations, to take action against ecological destruction in Mount Cudi and all over Turkey.

Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy
HDP’s Co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs
20 September 2022