The focus of my work for some time now has been on the situation of the Kurdish population in Turkey. The occasion was a workshop stay in Istanbul under the di- rection of „Beyond Istanbul - Center for spatial justice“, in which several NGO‘s participated. This exchange was followed by a six-month cooperation with the „Hafiza Merkezi/Truth Justice Memory Center“, a non-governmental organization dealing with the investigation of crimes against the Kurdish minority in the 1980s and 1990s. Since 2015, when the peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish state ended, this topic has been sadly up-to-date again. On 22 June 2018 I travelled with a delegation via the association „Cenî - Kurdish Women‘s Office for Peace“ to Diyarbakir for independent election observation. As one of about 150 election observers from several European countries I witnessed an election in a state of emergency and a massive intimidation of the population by excessive police and military presence. Diyarbakir is a city of millions which is currently undergoing an urban transformation process. During the clashes between the Turkish state and the youth organization YDG-H, there were several months of curfews in the old town of Sur. The use of heavy artillery intensified the fighting within a very short time, leading to the death of several civilians and massive damage to one of the oldest cities in the world. When the military operation officially ended in March 2016, the government implemented a so-called „urgent expropriation“, whereby almost the entire old town became the property of the government. Since then, about half of the old town has been razed to the ground to make way for villas that are unaffordable for Sur‘s over 20,000 displaced residents.
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