Turkish authorities’ destruction of a condolence house built by Yazidis in Kaleli village in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province who were forced to migrate in the 1980s and recently returned has drawn ire.
The Yazidi condolence house was torn down on Saturday by the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, to which a trustee had been appointed by the Turkish government in November 2016. The destruction of the house by municipal teams was recorded by the villagers on their cell phones. Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin deputy Ali Atalan has also confirmed the demolition.
According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF), the Yazidi House in Cizre district and Yazidi Union in Afrin province of Syria released a joint statement and condemned the destruction of the condolence house in Kaleli village.
“The barbaric practices of the Turkish state are not just confined to one sphere of Yazidi life. All spheres of the Yazidi society, people, monuments, nature, are under attack from the Turkish state,” read the statement.
Reminding that the Turkish military blew up the building of the Afrin Yazidi League and the statue of Lalesha Nurani, the statement condemned the destruction of the Kaleli condolence house and stated that it “violates human values and international principles.”
The statement underlined that the demolition took place during Ramadan and added, “The aim of these attacks is to eliminate any trace of the Yazidi culture … and force the Yazidi people to emigrate.” The statement also called on all concerned parties and the United Nations to stop the attacks and oppression by the Turkish government.
Two opposition members of Turkey’s parliament belonging to the minority Yazidi religion also condemned the demolition that they said was carried out on the orders of a government-appointed administrator, the left-wing Gazete Karınca news site said.
Two HDP deputies visited the village of Kaleli on Sunday where villagers said the religious building, made for paying respects and conveying condolences for the dead, was demolished on Saturday on the orders of the local authority.
HDP deputies Feleknas Uca and Ali Atalan said the mindset that led to the demolition was the same as that of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which destroyed the ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria. ISIL also massacred thousands of Yazidis in Iraq, regarding adherents of the ancient non-Muslim religion as devil worshippers.
Addressing the government-appointed administrator, Atalan said, “The will of the people will knock you down at the ballot boxes just as you knocked down this structure,” referring to June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has removed from office more than 80 of the 103 elected mayors representing the HDP since July 2016 and replaced them with government-appointed administrators. Many HDP mayors who have been removed from office have been accused of helping the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).