Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç has claimed that the Turkish military has been trying to get villagers in Tunceli (Dersim) province to sign documents in which they agree to leave the region.
Speaking to the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF), Tunç said a fire that started last night in the village of Çiğ (Pulebargı), close to Tunceli city center, has been put under control by the incredible efforts of environmental activists.
“The soldiers are telling the people in the villages to get out,” Tunç said, adding: “A villager called me today and let me know. They wanted to get the villagers to sign documents, but the villagers said this is their land and tore up the papers.”
Tunç also claimed that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to depopulate the region. “They are trying to prevent people who returned to their villages during the peace process from living here,” Tunç said and added that Tunceli Governor Tuncay Sonel is being used to implement this policy.
Stating that “the government must remember that human beings living in nature also have rights and that this has been secured by international law,” Tunç asked people for more awareness of fires in the Tunceli region.
Meanwhile, Alican Önlü, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), issued a written statement and said: “Dersim, humanity’s common heritage, is under a new systemic and ruthless attack in front of the eyes of the whole world. There is a crime against both humanity and nature and all living beings here.”
“The forest fires have raged for weeks, and the armed soldiers and police prevent the efforts to put them out under orders from the AKP government. Citizens are put under immense pressure. The city has been surrounded by soldiers and police with heavy weapons. This is like 1938 all over again. They are bombing mountains, blood runs in rivers and people are dying.”
Önlü also protested the silence of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe (CoE), UNICEF and international environmental organizations.
“I am calling on the people of Dersim who live in Turkey’s big cities, Europe and throughout the world, and humanity as a whole to take urgent action. Dersim is a symbol of freedom, democracy, gender equality and respect for nature. Let’s defend the sacred sites, forests, water, nature, living beings, birds and wolves and our graves in Dersim,” said Önlü.
“Dersim is troubled, and you can let the whole world hear her voice. With the people standing up in Dersim, with the actions of our committee and with you rising up wherever you are, we can save our city, our graves, our living beings and our sacred sites together, with a common voice.”