A big fire that got spread in forests of Turkey’s Dersim after the operations of security forces in the area continues to grow.
The fires that started in Pülümür, Hozat, Nazmiye, and Ovacık districts more than a week ago have already destroyed lands as large as thousands of hectares.
While the efforts of the public in the region to intervene are being blocked by the authorities due to ‘security’ concerns, thousands of wild animals have also got impacted severely.
In a joint statement, a number of local and national rights and environmentalist organizations demanded authorities to put out the fire.
According to report of Dilara Kara from BirGün, executive member of Federation of Dersim Associations, Ali Rıza Bilir, drew attention to the approach of the authorities to the situation and said: “The people are trying to intervene to put out the fire with their own means. No intervention is allowed. And, the people who try to put it out are threatened by authorities who tell them: ‘There are clashes; you’d get shot and killed’. Then, those people also end up having to leave the sites as they get afraid”.
Bilir mentioned the anger growing among the locals and added: “For years, our forests in the Dersim region have been put on fire with operations being claimed as the ‘excuse’. This is a policy for intimidating the public. But it will not benefit anyone. They cannot eliminate the views, will, and belief of the people of Dersim by burning forests. They must end such policies”.
Officially named as Tunceli, Dersim is an eastern Anatolian province predominantly populated by Alevi Kurds. It is also the region where a brutal massacre perpetrated by the state in Turkey had left tens of thousands killed, disappeared, and displaced during the early years of the Republic.