Tag Archives: Southeastern Turkey

A March to Protest Recent Kurdish Attacks

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While the news of the Van earthquake quickly swallowed up reports about the most recent violence along the border of Southeastern Turkey, it must also be followed and understood as the whole world watches the rescue and recovery efforts in Van. Just days before the earthquake in Southeastern Turkey, Kurdish militants attacked and killed  Turkish soldiers along the Southeastern border with Iraq. In response, the Turkish military retaliated and entered Northern Iraq. 

On October 19th, a PKK-initiated attack resulted in the deaths of 24 Turkish soldiers, stationed at various border posts in Southeast Turkey. This attack occurred one day after a roadside bomb led to the deaths of  five policemen and three civilians, including a 2-year-old girl in the Bitlis province.

Following this attack, 10,000 Turkish soldiers were sent to Southeastern Turkey, and across the border to Iraq. This military offensive resulted in the deaths of 49 Kurdish soldiers on the Turkish side of the border.

This is one of the deadliest attacks on Turkish security forces since the conflict began in the 1980s. This conflict has resulted in the deaths of 40,000 people since 1984. Tension is high, and the entire nation is waiting to see what the next move of the Turkish military will be.

 We were walking back to our apartment on Sunday afternoon, and stumbled upon a march against the violence of the Kurdish militants. The chants could be heard blocks away. The main road was blocked. Over 50 police officers lined the street. Shopkeepers closed their stores, and numerous people came to observe. I captured some of the march, and wanted to share it with everyone…

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The Earthquake in Southeast Turkey

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On Sunday afternoon, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey. This earthquake resulted in many injuries and deaths. While the loss of life is still unknown, some are estimating the death toll to be around 1000. News outlets report that families are still struggling to find their family members. As you walk through the streets of Van, you can hear the screams of people stuck in the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings. Neighbors and other community volunteers dug through the rubble with their own bare hands. The evening temperature sank below zero degrees, and many survivors were forced to sleep on the streets as they await the support of public and private aid agencies. The roads were severely damaged, making it difficult for the much-needed manpower and supplies to arrive in this dire time of need.

My heart goes out to everyone effected by this tragedy. I am wishing for the best as the people of Van, and the surrounding area attempt to find their loved ones and recover from yesterday’s horrible earthquake.