Turkey — The Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) has accused Turkish security forces of deliberately starting forest fires in the region as a war strategy of the state.
President Erdoğans and the AKP governments politics of war in the countrys Kurdish provinces since July 2015 have reached alarming proportions. Unlawful round-the-clock curfews and military operations continue to harm the civilian population and ecology of the region. The heavy damage that last weeks forest fires and the so-called security measures inflicted on the people of Lice [a district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır] once again illustrates the destructive face of war, Hişyar Özsoy, vice co-chair of the HDP, said in a written statement released on June 28.
HDP Bingöl deputy Özsoy, who also serves as the partys deputy co-chair in charge of external affairs, claimed that the main arteries and village roads have been blocked by security forces, who control and prevent both entries or exits, he claimed.
Citizens living in the peripheral villages where clashes occur say that soldiers do not allow them to exit, and when they can exit helicopters harass them. Alongside these forms of violence against the local people and the blatant curtailment of freedoms on the grounds of security, forest fires constitute a major form of havoc that the war causes in Lice and other Kurdish provinces. During the military operation in Lice, approximately 50,000 acres burned down as a result of the aerial bombings by F-16s or Skorsky helicopters. Forest fires have started and still go on in 150 points near the villages in the Lice, Hani, Kocaköy, and Hazro districts. The fires destroyed a majority of the wheat farms which constitute a major source of income in the region.
Attempts to reach citizens in these villages have failed. Meanwhile, special operations units have forcefully evacuated villages and founded mobile stations to use these villages as military bases, said Özsoy, a member of the national assemblys Committee on Foreign Affairs and of the Turkish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCEPA).
Forest fires that are deliberately started by security forces should be seen as one of the war strategies of the state, Özsoy said.