December 26 2015, briefly from my notebook…
Sur, Cizre, Silopi, Nusaybin, Idil, Derik, Dargecit, Yuksekova…The curfew has been going on for close to a year. Police and soldiers surround these towns. There is no water and no power. We draw water from the wells and power thanks to generators. Armored vehicles stand on every corner and shoot at random at anyone spotted on the street. Whether armed or without weapons, no difference: they shoot at everyone. They shot Taybet, 57, in the middle of the street where her body remained for seven days. Her children could not reach her body since they shot at anyone attempting to approach her. For seven days, they saw their mother’s body on the street, and had to refrain from throwing stones at cats and wandering dogs swarming around her body. The thought of having to stare at the bloodied corpse of your mother for 7 days…
In these areas, despite the reality of death, people have no choice but to survive. Clinging to life despite the corpse of your mother on the street outside your door, sobbing with a 35-day old lifeless baby’s body in your arms, or sobbing over your daughter’s body decomposing in a freezer for days.
Miray Ince who was assassinated last night (December 25 2015) was in her mother’s stomach when the curfew was imposed on September 4. Under the blockade, the three months of Miray’s life was one of the State massacres that served as a stain on the world’s history. Miray’s bloody photograph quickly circulated, reiterating the meaning of resistance like a study in self-consciousness.
When asked “what he most wished in the world,” Sabahatin Ali answered: “To be undersood.” No doubt the independent journalists who stayed there after the introduction of the curfew on June 5 agreed with him. While doing our best to communicate the active popular resistance along with the massacre of babies, old people, mothers and youngsters before our eyes, we remained defiant in order to convey the cries of resistance to those willing to hear.
With the bitter news of massacres throughout Kurdistan, we kept informed about Cizre. Random shots by policemen against a house in Sur ended the life of Miray Ince, 3 months old. Waving white flags, mother and grandfather attempted to reach an ambulance close by, but Turkish special forces took them as targets. After hours of desperate attempts, they finally reached an ambulance, and while the mother was under intensive care, Miray and her grandfather could not be saved.
Miray was born on September 27. Since the curfew in Cizre began on September 4, she was a 9 month old baby in her mother’s stomach when the horror began. Despite everything, perhaps Miray was luckier than others. For example, baby Tahir Yarandır, 35 days old, was killed during the first curfews. The bodies of baby Tahir and of Mehmet Yarandır (19) had to wait side by side in the local mosque in their Nur neighborhood. HDP deputies had to fight for days in order to organize the retrieval of the corpses and the neighbors finally removed the bodies from the neighborhood behind women carrying white flags. This was one of the many funerary marches under white flags in Kurdistan.
I will never forget the funerals of baby Tahir and of Cemile. Major fighting took place in Cizre’s Şırnak district following the September 2015 curfew. A total of 21 people were killed during this period, among them a young girl by the name of Cemile. She was assassinated by the police. Because of the curfew, her body could not be taken to the morgue at the hospital. Her mother wrapped her in plastic sheeting and put the body in the home’s freezer.
That same day, bombs had also taken the life of a 35-day old baby, Tahir Yarandir. Decomposition had set in. While preparing his funeral in the neighborhood mosque, we realized another body awaited burial – that of a young man by the name of Mehmet Emin Lokman. His mother embraced him until she had no more tears to shed. Several days later, ambulances started entering the neighborhood. Police declared it would allow transportation of the bodies to the end of the street. As we were carrying Mehmet Emin’s body toward the hearse, the police started firing from an armored vehicle. Several people fell to the ground, seriously wounded. Frightened, Tahir’s father ran after the hearse and threw the baby’s body through the open door, before taking shelter in an alley. Tahir was only a baby, so tiny, and yet his father had no other choice than to throw his corpse into the hearse, like he would have done with a ball. The police was entirely to blame for this whole tragedy.
Thinking it over, I find it just as hard to reconcile myself with the incidents of September 10. Zeynep Taşkın, 18, collapsed on the street with her newborn. Her mother Maşallah Edin ran out to help her and was shot down in the same way. For a long time, terrified neighbors could do nothing while the baby’s cries resounded throughout the neighborhood. Governmental forces learned nothing from these murders and resumed their gunfire soon after.
I would like to share with you my notes concerning the fate of a few women:
Hanife Durak (80): died of a heart attack in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district after policemen launched a grenade at civilians.
Fatma Öktem (55): assassinated on August 31 while she slept on her rooftop. She lived in the Silopi district in Diyarbakır and was killed by a sniper.
Wetban Bülbül (65): died of a heart attack following explosions in Cizre on September 4 when the resistance against the curfew began.
Ayten Gülhan (32): deliberately targeted and assassinated by the police during clashes between members of the PKK and security forces in Dersim on December 5.
Cemile Çağırga (10): targeted and assassinated by police snipers in front of her home in Cizre on December 6.
Meryem Süne (53): assassinated during general shooting against civilians by the police on September 8 in Cizre.
Zeynep Taşkın (18): killed by special forces in the middle of the street while crossing the road with her baby in her arms.
Ruken Demir (18): assassinated by the police in Diyarbakır during a demonstration against the curfews on September 12.
Alya Temel (48): killed by mortar fire by soldiers in the district of Beytussebap in Şırnak on September 25.
Elif Simsek (8): dies on September 27 in Diyarbakır’s Bismil district after rockets landed on her home.
Mülkiye Geçel (48): shot down during an attack by police and special forces on September 28 in the district of Bismil, Diyarbakır.
Latife Tutuk (23): Targeted and shot down by soldiers in the military distict as she was on her way to visit neighbors in Silopi, Şırnak.
Hayriye Hüdaverdi (70): killed by police and special forces after the declaration of the curfew on October 6 in Silva/Diyarbakır.
Helin Hasret Sen (12): killed by the police in Sur, Diyarbakır on October 10 as she set out to buy bread for her family.
Ismet Gezici (55): killed by police snipers on November 11 in Silvan/Diyarbakır.
Selamet Yesilmen (44): killed by shots from a police armored vehicle in Nusaybin, Mardin on November 11.
Fatma Yigit (17): killed after the launching of a grenade on a group of civilians in Silopi on November 12.
Güler Eroğlu (20): executed by the police in the district of Sur, Diyarbakır on December 2.
Fehime Akti (56): assassinated on December 12 in the district of Nusaybin in Mardin when a rocket launched by the police struck her full in the chest.
Hüsyin Güzel (70): died of a heart attack in the district of Silopi/Şırnak following the explosion of a grenade close by.
Taybet Inan (57): Massacred on December 20 in the district of Silopi in Şırnak, while carrying a white flag, symbol of peace.
Zeynep Yılmaz (45): killed in her neighborhood following heavy gunfire on December 20 in the district of Şırnak in Cizre.
Emire Gök (39): killed on December 20 in the district of Nusaybin in Mardin after the police opened fire in the direction of her garden.
Ayse Buruntekin (40): killed during a barrage of canon fire and other firearms from a police armored vehicle in the district of Şırnak in Cizre. Cahide Çikal (35): died of shrapnel wounds on December 22 in the district of Şırnak.
Amine Duman (70): died of heart failure in the district of Şırnak in Cizre on December 22 because transportation to the hospital was impossible.
Azime Asa (50): died on December 23 after a bomb struck her house.
Sebahat Kılıç (28): Assassinated in front of her home during an assault on her house by special forces in the district of Dargecit in Mardin.
Miray Ince, only 3 months. Killed in the arms of her mother on December 25 in the Şırnak district in Cizre.
These names are but examples among countless others. Thousands of people lost their lives during the confrontations. Many of their bodies were never recovered.