Anna Meïra Greunig
In cooperation with Istanbul based NGO “Hafıza Merkezi/Truth Justice Memory Center” interviews and perspectives of residents and those displaced have been collected and summarised in an online platform for digital storytelling. A virtual tour of the Old Town of Sur allows a broader public to hear voices of those affected by the measurements of the Turkish State. The research and interviews were conducted while joining the “Cenî–Kurdish Women’s Office for Peace” independent election observation in Diyarbakır in 2018.As one of about 150 election observers from several European countries [SI] student Anna Meïra Greunig joined the observations from 22 June 2018 on, witnessing an election in a state of emergency and a massive intimidation of the population by excessive police and military presence.
The crimes against the Kurdish minority in the 1980s and 1990s have been sadly up-to-date again when the peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish state ended in 2015. Diyarbakır is a city of millions that faced a range of urban transformations related to the Kurdish-Turkish conflict at that time. During the clashes between the Turkish state and the youth organisation YDG-H, several months of curfews were proclaimed in the old town district 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 Turkish government. Since then, about half of the old town has been demolished to commercialise lots for housing unaffordable for Sur‘s over 20,000 displaced residents.