Yesterday Turkish government ordered all schools closed, all dormitories shut down and teachers to leave the towns of Cizre and Silopi in the Kurdish area of Turkey. This order came at the time the Turkish military started amassing outside the towns and extra police force was ordered to move to these towns, already bustling with cops from all over Turkey.
Kurds are in the way of Turkish president Erdogan’s fantasy of building the defunct Ottoman Empire, the last Turkish, Sunni Muslim empire that crumbled as the “modern” Turkey came to life in 1923. In order to create the greater Islamic empire Kurdish regions in Turkey, Syria and Iraq will need to be invaded by Turkey.
Recently, implementing democracy in accordance with the European Union vision and to break the dependency to the central government mostly the towns and villages in Eastern Turkey (Kurdistan) started a self-sufficiency and self-governance model.
In the Turkish tradition of central state this is nothing that could be tolerated. Democracy, freedoms and equality is only permissible as much as the central government and the state allows.
Having had enough with racist and authoritarian governors appointed by the central government, some Kurdish towns decided to implement democracy where the daily business of running the towns would be transparent instead of being secretive as it is currently, true to the Turkish tradition. In order to bring more real democracy, the progressive HDP party is electing a women as co-mayors to every town they were elected. Bringing a system of co-mayors HDP, a pro-Kurdish party, is promoting women in all levels of local governance in an area known to be the most male dominated, religious and patriarchal.
It is easy to see how the Muslim central government finds this repulsive.
When the progressive HDP was able to pass the 10% threshold to gain votes away from the ruling Islamic AKP (JDP) party in the June elections, it became the target of all conservatives, Muslims, fascist parties and the traditional Kemalists. Muslims oppose the HDP for its progressive ideology and for opposing their government. Nationalists, fascists and Kemalists consider the HDP a threat because it advances a pro-Kurdish stance instead of the traditional Turkish nationalist propaganda.
Since the HDP governing towns and villages in Turkish Kurdistan started this experimentation with democracy as self-governance, central Turkish government forces have attacked in full force. Many towns were shelled with heavy military artillery and police joined forces with Syrian jihadist terrorists to attack the residences as the central state declared curfew. Snipers on roof tops murdered people who stepped outside looking for food after being confined to their homes for more than 5-6 days for 24 hours. Turkish police first destroy the electrical power transformers during a curfew leaving the residents in dark. Then the Turkish state attacks start, usually at night where the cops and the terrorists from Syria together begin raiding the Kurdish homes and breaking down doors mostly randomly. It is a common practice of the Turkish police and special forces to just start spraying entire neighborhoods with automatic rifles, even though the streets are empty. Also, the cops using the curfew as a cover deface the store fronts and walls with racist threats, writing, “If you are a Kurd, you must obey, if you are a Turk you must rule!”
Due to these attacks with the help of Turkish military and helicopters nearly 50 people have lost their lives in the last few months in the Kurdish region alone from police attacks.
Nearly all mayors and co-mayors of these towns have been arrested by the Turkish AKP government.
Two days ago these attacks against the Kurdish democracy of self-governance took a steep hike.
Army units from all over Turkey as well as extra police units have been summoned to the towns implementing co-mayors and giving women the opportunity to govern the towns.
All hospitals in the towns of Silopi, Cizre in Sirnak have been put on notice to expect high activity and be prepared.
Government ordered teachers to leave town immediately. With schools and student quarters closed until further notice, some teachers and their families scrambled to leave their homes. All buses being full, these teachers and their families had to walk around 3 miles to reach a nearby highway to find any means of transportation to evacuate the Kurdish town.
However, progressive teachers organized under the Egitim-Sen, the teachers Union decided to resist the move to abandon their students.
The co-chair of Egitim Sen Union in Sirnak, Serhat Ugur, confirmed the military buildup in their town before the expected Turkish state attack. He said, “I heard from the 1990’s generation (where the Turkish state had the entire Kurdistan under siege and murdered more than 40,000 people in its war against the Kurds) however we are now in a situation worse than those days. We are living atrocities many times worse than the 1990’s. However, I am still going to school, facing all obstacles. But what kind of hatred, what kind of preparation is this that we are seeing, I am unable to comprehend. What will they say to this population tomorrow? They keep repeating that the main reason for these assaults is for the defense of the country and “all else is detail.” We are seeing a level of military transfer to the region never seen before.”
Tanks, armored vehicles, heavy artillery are moving to the towns implementing democracy from all over Turkey as far away as 800 miles. Planes are whizzing in and out of the local airport carrying soldiers, police, special forces and of course their associate Syrian jihadist goons.
Ugur added that it was impossible to see the end of the military convoy as they rolled into his town. “It is as if we have a war here. They are coming as if to destroy our whole town and raze it to the ground. How could such a move be justified? If this happened in Palestine everybody would be up in arms, we are following the news, but not a whisper of the events here is heard. We are facing a total annihilation. They (the government) are coming here as if to confine us inside for about 10-15 days.” He called for all to stand up and resist this buildup and the upcoming attack.
Ugur, the co-chair of the union, said the central government, through the ministry of education, ordered the teachers to evacuate the towns and most teachers had done so. “I am a teacher for more than 10 years. I’ve never seen such an order. We liken this order to evacuate the town to the threats received from ISIS before they take over a town where they promise to severe the heads of the people. We are wondering if the Esedullah team (an illegal, Islamic and racist organization inside the Turkish police force) will be raiding us. Our lawyers called the education ministry but the local department head replied that he is not aware of such an evacuation order. We are now in doubt as we are ordered to evacuate but the government is not standing behind its orders. Will they send the order in writing after the fact, we don’t know. Majority of the teachers have left town, but there are some left behind. I will not leave. We have teacher friends who say, “I am not only a teacher when the student has his/her school uniform on” and refuse to leave and abandon their students. We have teachers who are from all over the country and refusing to abandon their students.
Trying to describe the mood of the people in the region, Ugur added, “People are thinking, just imagine what may happen if they even pull their teachers from my town. People will ask, will this be a surgical strike or a mass massacre. We have tens and hundreds of teachers who are disobeying the order to evacuate. We are not teachers only when our students are in their school uniforms. If any of our teachers are thinking about abandoning the town our suggestion is to stay here instead of leaving. We are teachers who also teach life and the obstacles and challenges in life and we are also the teachers for the entire population of the town and not only the students. We will stay here and stand by our people to keep them alive. We are not only tasked with teaching history or geography. Our students search for answers by looking directly into our eyes. If we leave, how can we look into their eyes, look at their faces when we return? There is a so-called policy to keep the children away from the war; however they are bringing the war to the children.”
Sendika.org News. (Mehmet Bayram)