Magazine article New Internationalist

Cleaned Out: Turkish Army Destroys Villages

Magazine article New Internationalist

Cleaned Out: Turkish Army Destroys Villages

Article excerpt

THE war in south - eastern Turkey which last year claimed 3,000 lives has now been going on for 10 years. Guerrillas of the PKK - Partia Karkaris Kurdistan or Kurdish Workers' Party - are fighting for an independent state against the second - biggest army in NATO. The Turkish Human Rights Group say that 874 Kurdish villages were destroyed in 1993.

I made two visits to south - east Turkey to investigate this Turkish version of 'ethnic cleansing'. Ormanici is typical. Before the 1960 coup it was known by its Kurdish name, Bane, but since then all place names have been changed by the Government.

I arrived on foot after a day's walk and a raft - crossing of the River Tigris - necessary to avoid army patrols. The damp morning air still carried the smell of burnt timber and rotting meat. Turkish soldiers had tossed grenades into the communal barn killing most of the villagers' sheep. Of the original 24 families 14 had left.

It was early evening when 18 Turkish soldiers arrived. Gunshots heralded their coming. …

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