Satellite images show extent of deforestation in Şirnex

Thousands of trees have been cut down near Mount Cudi and in the Besta region, and tree felling continues in areas declared “special security zones.”

About 1,000 tons of trees are cut down every day, and brought to the city center to be sold.

Tree felling has been continuing in Şırnak for “security reasons” for about three years.

Satellite images have shown the extent of deforestation in the predominantly Kurdish-populated province of Şırnak since 2019, when the authorities began felling trees for “security reasons.”

Thousands of trees have been cut down near Mount Cudi and in the Besta region, and tree felling continues in areas declared “special security zones.”

About 1,000 tons of trees are cut down every day, and brought to the city center to be sold. Village guards are involved in the transportation and selling of wood.

Two images obtained from Google Earth on October 8, 2020, and October 17, 2021, show forests in a large area in the northeast of the Şırnak Prison were completely destroyed. Other images from areas nearby also showed similar deforestation.

Satellite images of deforestation area in Şirnex

Zeki İrmez, a local, told the Mezopotamya Agency (MA) that they had submitted petitions against the tree felling that has been going on for four years

“We talked to the Provincial Directorate [of Forestry]. They said, ‘This is beyond us. They are doing this for security reasons’,” he said. “They lodge tenders as a formality. Village guards cut down all the trees. We didn’t want to allow it. But they told us, ‘They will be cut down whether you allow it or not.’

“It is neither in accordance with the law nor with the tender. It is said that 10 tons of trees will be cut down according to the tender, but they loot [the forest]. They commit a massive slaughter. They cut down trees under the guise of security, but there is a great income.”

Felling in private property

Bahattin Alkiş, another resident, said the trees in their private property are also cut down. “Tree felling has been going on for about two months. When we learned about that, we applied to the Şırnak Directorate of Forestry, Urfa Regional Directorate of Forestry, the gendarmerie, the governor’s office and the Siirt Directorate of Forestry.

“We told them that the land belongs to us and our trees are cut down without our knowledge.”

After their applications, the felling stopped, but about 160 tons of trees had been cut down, he said.

The map of Şirnex province

“No answer has been given to our applications. We only know that felling has stopped after our objection. The transportation of the felled trees has also stopped. The people there want to talk to us about transportation. We don’t accept that.

“They want to build an outpost for security reasons. They say a road to Van will be built. We don’t want our trees, nature, to be slaughtered.”

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This news first published by Bianet.

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