Blockade in Kurdish region in worse than Gaza


by Ergun Babahan

This article was originally published in Turkish on Özgür Düşünce with the title ‘Basement of shame’ and was translated to English by Kurdish Question.

For many days now, 26 people, covered in blood and in need of water, have been awaiting an ambulance in a basement in the Kurdish town of Cizre. Regardless of how the state views the status of these people, regardless of whether it sees them as enemies or not, this is a crime against humanity.

At a time when all humane values have been sidelined and tanks are bombing cities as if they were enemy lands, AKP officials are openly lying to us. The truth is that even the words of government ministers are no longer valid in the Kurdish region.

The mentality that detains Kurdish mothers carrying white flags to retrieve the corpses of their children and doesn’t allow doctors into the city to administer medical care to the wounded, is imposing a blockade worse than the one employed by Israel in Gaza.


The majority of Turkey is largely unaware of what is happening in the Kurdish region because there is a media-blackout on one hand and a bombardment of disinformation from government controlled media on the other. Warnings by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth are insufficient but on point:

“[The government] is becoming averse to critical voices in the media, judiciary and civil society. When a government shields itself with intolerance it creates the foundations for an authoritarian regime. This is a very dangerous state of affairs. We hope that Turkish society will awaken to this reality before it is too late.”

I believe we have already surpassed the stage of having an authoritarian regime and are well on our way to a fascist regime in practice. The persecution of Kurds, opposition groups, journalists, academics and the [Gulen] Jamaat prove that the definition ‘authoritarian regime’ is insufficient.

The most important point in Roth’s message is his call to the Turkish people; but like 1930s Germany, where all media was concentrated in the hands of the government and those critical were detained and imprisoned immediately, the possibility of the people seeing the truth is slim.

A society that feeds off lies and is left in fear using scare tactics is unlikely, it seems, to see the wider picture unless a big economic crisis affects their lives.

Roth’s analysis of what is happening in the Kurdish region, made in Istanbul as part of the HRW’s yearly report, is also insufficient and diffident but still important:

“Although it is difficult to know exactly what is happening in the Southeast (of Turkey), it is evident that certain parts of cities are in complete ruin. We are worried that heavy artillery is being used in residential areas, which is leading to civilian deaths. It is clear that hundreds of civilians have died.

Due to curfews serious investigations cannot be carried out. We are especially concerned about wounded people not being given the right to medical treatment.”

The AKP mentality that is doing the above is also leading the country into conflict with Russia. A conflict regarding Syria tensions is now not seen as being impossible.

If the Palace (Erdoğan) trusts NATO in a war with Russia then he is making a mistake. These Unionist* policies may leave Turkey facing a similar fate to the one in 1918. Let it be known, we are on a catastrophic path…

* The Committee of Union and Progress was a Turkish nationalist organisation that sided with Germany in WWI and adopted an all-out war concept genociding Armenians, Pontic Greeks and Assyrians in efforts to create a pure Turkish nation and state.


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