Turkish state wreaks havoc on Zilan Valley

The AKP-MHP government continues its steps to destroy and depopulate the Kurdistan territory. Hydroelectric power plant construction began again in the Zilan Valley, in Erciş district of Van province.

Natural life was heavily damaged due to HPP projects and dams built in North Kurdistan. Thousands of endemic plants and animal species in the valleys have already disappeared, agriculture and animal husbandry have come to an end. Hundreds of villages and hamlets are long under water. Thousands of people were forced to migrate.

The Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP), which was launched in 2014 in the region of Zilan (Geliyê Zilan) in Erçis, was stopped by a Council of State decision in 2015 upon the objection of the villagers.

Despite this, taking advantage of this period of coronavirus pandemic, construction work was restarted while all attention was elsewhere. Hundreds of workers are working day and night to speed up works.

In the massacre of the Zilan Valley on 13 July 1930, 15,000 people were killed according to official sources and 50,000 according to unofficial sources. After the massacre, 45 villages were burned down and destroyed. The state forcibly took the land from the villagers in the region of Zilan, thousands of people were exiled.

The massacre of Zilan Valley was a in fact a cleansing operation, and is described by the great writer Yasar Kemal in his his novel Deniz Küstü (“The Sea-Crossed Fisherman”). Indeed the Zilan Valley Massacre was one of the final campaigns to stop Kurdish independence. The secret mission was referred to as “cleaning up.”

Kyrgyz / Uzbek people were brought from Afghanistan and Central Asia and resettled in these lands.

Villagers protest HPP project in Zilan Valley

Works at the Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Zilan Valley have resumed taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the decision of the Council of State which had ruled to stop the construction.

Zilan Valley is not only a beautiful landscape, it has also large, productive agricultural lands and is suitable for animal husbandry. The 4 HPP projects planned for it will clearly destroy the territory and change its balance.

In addition, when the HPP are completed, thousands of people will be forced to migrate, the water will be polluted and the plants and animals will consequently be affected and risk disappearing.

The Kyrgyz people were placed in the region of Zilan in 1982 during the time of the military coup mind, general Kenan Evren.

These days they too protested the construction of HPP in the Zilan Valley. Kyrgyz people living in the village of Ulupamir went to the HPP construction site to protest the building of the project.

For a long time, they stayed at the site, protesting and saying that their future too will be affected together with that of the animals and territory. A discussion erupted at the site and Turkish soldiers arrived in the area. After the protest, the Kyrgyz returned to their village.

After the protest, the commander of the police station in Zilan Valley called the villagers at the station and threatened them. The police station commander threatened the Kyrgyz villagers with consequences should they decide to continue with their protest.