Kurdistan depopulated and the memory of people lost

ŞIRNEX - Botan geography is being plundered by dams built for "security" reasons, forests cut down and mining companies. Şirnex Ecology Movement Co-Spokesperson Adnan Şenbayram said: "While Kurdistan is being depopulated, the memory of people is also lost."
As a step of the security policies followed in the Kurdish issue, natural plunder has been continuing for many years in Şirnex, as in many parts of Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of people living in villages evacuated in the city for "security" reasons in the 90s were migrated to the Federated Kurdistan Region, city and district centers, or Turkish metropolises. The ecological destruction committed against the depopulated urban geography reached its peak with the AKP government.
The AKP government, which prioritized neoliberal policies, allowed monopolized companies to run wild in this geography. While 7 dams have been built in the valleys of the region in the last 19 years, the construction of 2 dams is still continuing. In addition to these dams, large and small ponds called 'flood protection sets' were created at 38 different points. While dam construction continued, the region's geography was devastated to extract fossil fuels such as coal, copper, cement, raw materials and oil.
Dozens of mines were opened both illegally and legally for coal, which has a total reserve of around 150 million tons, in the city center and Uludere and Silopi districts. A huge forest area was plundered for these mines. According to the data of the Regional Directorate of Forestry, 7 percent of the city's forests were cut down in a short period of 7 months. In the city where nearly 500 thousand tons of trees are cut down annually, ecological destruction continues for the oil extracted in Gabbar Mountain, Cudî Mountain and Faraşîn Plateau by the Turkish Petroleum Joint Stock Company (TPO).
The advertising video, published by TPO on October 23 with the title "25 thousand barrels of oil per day in Gabbar" and announcing that it will reach 35 thousand barrels of oil production by the end of 2023 and 100 thousand barrels per day by the end of 2024, once again reveals the nature massacre in the region. laid it out before him. The video, which shows thousands of hectares of forest surface being destroyed, dynamite with high destructive power being used, kilometers of roads being built, and gigantic facilities built for all these, also revealed the purpose of the "Special Security Zone" decisions frequently declared in the region.
Speaking about the ecological plunder caused by TPO and mining companies, Şirnex Ecology Movement Co-Spokesperson Adnan Şenbayram stated that there was a huge nature massacre in the city. Stating that oil exploration has been carried out in Şirnex for the last 10 years, Şenbayram said: “During these searches, exploration activities are carried out almost everywhere in the Botan region, especially Gabar Mountain, Cudî Mountain and Faraşin plateau. In the last 2-3 years, instead of searching for oil, they have started to extract oil by opening oil wells in places they have previously identified. We are seeing a serious plunder of nature, especially with the establishment of the TPO facility on Gabar Mountain."
Stating that there are certain conditions for obtaining the necessary permits from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for mineral exploration and extraction areas, Şenbayram said: “However, in the videos published by TPO about the work done for oil extraction in Şirnex, we saw that dynamite was detonated on a large scale and the forest was destroyed on Gabar Mountain. It has been turned into a molehill of the region. We see that the region is being exploited and plundered for these oil operations, as was the case with the coal mines previously built in Şirnex. The facilities established for the exploration, extraction and operation of oil and other minerals and the roads opened for their transportation all bring about a serious rent system. At the same time, all these constructions completely destroy nature. For example, when building a road, it is done by pouring concrete and the soil surface is completely destroyed. While the mines are being extracted, the forests that form the vegetation are either burned or cut down and sold to someone. At this stage, it is not possible to talk about the existence of a forest on Gabar Mountain. The entire nature has been destroyed."
Emphasizing that some areas in the city are frequently declared as "Special Security Zones" by the governorship, Şenbayram said: “We have seen that forests are cut down not only for 'security' reasons, but also to increase the profits of capitalists. We think that the security zone announcements were made for pure plunder. A similar situation occurred in Qilêban district. Some regions were declared as special security zones and later copper mines began to be mined in those regions. When we look at the concrete situations, we can say that these security reasons are an excuse to plunder the region and make someone richer."
Stating that Kurdistan was completely depopulated for mining activities, Şenbayram added: “In the 90s, people were forcibly removed from their places of residence for security reasons. But they still prevent people from returning to their villages. In order to reduce the costs of the institutions operating in the region, they ban people from going to those regions, settling in their villages, or even visiting them to prevent any activity in life because if there is life flowing in the region where mining activities are carried out, the mining institution must offer the same living space to the people there elsewhere. Since all these require costs, today people are prevented from going to their own lands by calling them special security zones.”
Noting that the regions where mining activities are carried out are regions where thousands of years of human life have continued uninterrupted, Şenbayram said: “For example, Cudi Mountain is where Noah's ark stopped. It is the geography of ancient Mesopotamia, where the first settlements were located. The dehumanization of the region and the destruction of nature are eliminating an ancient tradition and past with the mining activities carried out today. Just as nature is depopulated, humans are also dehistoricized. People's memories are being destroyed and lost. All traces of their past are being destroyed."
MA / Ömer Akın