A Forgotten War
Project info

There is a forgotten war in Turkey.

Since July 2015, when the Turkish government ended the peace process started with the PKK (the Kurdistan’s Workers Party) in 2012, the authorities have started a massive military campaign in the South East of the country. Many towns and villages were sealed, put under 24 hours curfew, and bombed. After the first week of clashes the civilians were allowed to flee, however many had already died as a consequence of the fighting: the lack of water, food, electricity and basic medical treatment.

The aim of the Turkish Government is to eradicate the PKK which is considered a terroristic group in Turkey as well as the US and Europe. However, despite the status of terroristic group, the US are baking the PKK struggles in the fight against Daesh, the so called Islamic State, with financial and military support on the ground. In April 2016 a US Navy Seal died in combat while advising Kurdish forces in Iraq.

The Kurdish majority town of Cizre, situated on the border between Turkey and Syria, is under curfew from December 2015. There the most violent clashes took place in the three months long 24 hours curfew. Finally, in March 2016, the curfew was lifted to a lighter 7:30pm to 5am and residents were allowed to come back to their homes. However, they soon discovered that, in many cases, almost nothing was left. According to a statement released by the government more than 600 PKK fighters were killed in Cizre during 59 days of clashes. Such violent fighting brought widespread destruction in all the areas involved. The fight took place in four neighbourhoods, moving from Yasef to Nur and Sur and then, ending in Ciuti. Here the devastation reached its peak and what is left behind is, literally, just a pile of rubbles.
A whole neighbourhood was turned in a desert leaving hundreds homeless. Most of those people found shelter to friends and relatives while others left the town looking for a new life in another place. Nevertheless, all the citizens of Cizre were affected by the situation. Even those families whose houses were spared by the conflict have a relative, a friend or a neighbour touched by the consequences of the battle.

According to Amnesty International the military operation carried out by the Turkish government is "starting resembling a collective punishment [...] putting the lives of ten of thousands at risk".