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  • Mourners during a funeral ceremony in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Jan. 22, 2016.

    Mourners during a funeral ceremony in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, Jan. 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Kurdish people have a long history of facing oppression.

Every article I write, I always try to illustrate the struggle the Kurds have been through; yet I always end up writing an article feeling isolated, feeling as though I have not reached out enough to the reader. So here is another shot, at reaching out, to the core of the heart; another attempt to illustrate the struggle the Kurds have been through for centuries. It is my duty to at least show others the suffering Kurds have experienced for many, many years.

Scattered throughout the autonomous mountain enclave in northern Iraq known as Kurdistan, are hundreds of Peshmerga fighters; fighting to stand for Kurdistan against the atrocities carried out by the world’s biggest opponent – known as ISIS.  Among all the fighting; among all the deaths; among all the cries of mothers and the futile loss of innocence of children, still lies hope.

In Kurdistan a cause for hope lies not only for the Kurds, the largest nation in the world without their own internationally recognized state, but also for the greater Middle East. As Owen Jones once mentioned to me, the fight itself illustrates hope, our ancestors have achieved so much; and the hope is to keep those achievements at bay.

It is not unknown to us that the Kurds have been victims of history. After World War I, when the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, the Kurds were not given their own state like the Arabs and Turks were. In its place, the triumphant British and French divided them amongst Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.

Those Kurds living in Northern Iraq fought for decades for independence from the Arab-dominated state and suffered genocide from Saddam Hussein in the 1980s that saw 182,000 of their own people massacred.

There is an old maxim that goes: “The Kurds have no friends but the mountains.” As Iraq crumbles around them and Syria disintegrates, specifically Iraqi Kurds are forced to become increasingly self-reliant. Kurds in Turkey, have no reliable state procedure, and so also have become self-reliant. The states are working against the interest of Kurds.

However it cannot be said that Kurds in Turkey are isolated. All over Europe hundreds of Kurds, as well as other individuals have gotten together to protest the intolerable actions of the Turkish state and its president, Tayyip Erdogan. The murders of over 100 innocent civilians, as well as the uncounted; it is evident to most now that what is happening in former Northern Kurdistan is a form of ethnic cleansing.

The Turkish interior minister deceitfully claimed that 99.5% of all the “terrorists nested in Cizre are about to be eliminated.” It is almost a basic lie that the Turkish state is using to justify its actions. Diyarbakir’s central Sur district has been under curfew since December 2 2015, while the curfew was imposed in Silopi and Cizre on December 14 2015.

Today the curfew in Sirnak’s Cizre, has reached its 59th day and the operations have finally ended. Turkish Foreign Minister Efkan Ala has stated that the “military operation in the Kurdish district of Cizre has ended successfully.” Ala said that searches would continue and the 24-hour martial lockdown and curfew would continue for a period of time, but did not give much detail in his speech.

Regardless, there has been a round-the-clock martial lockdown in Cizre since December 12 2015, with at least 110,000 displaced and at least 150 civilians killed.

The 3 Basements:

66 people have been killed in 3 different basements, with another 73 people unaccounted for in the past two weeks. However the Turkish state rejects that ANY non-combatants have died during the past six months of martial lockdowns and sieges.

When the images of those 19 wounded civilians and six corpses trapped in a basement were released, the world leaders instead of coming to a halt, continued and strengthened their support for the Turkish state. Now it’s understandable that Turkey is holding Europe ransom, with holding more than two million Syrian refugees; however where there humanity is taken hostage from only a particular ethnic group – leaders are obliged to talk out.

Atrocity 1

According to various sources, at least 30 people were trapped in the first basement in Cizre’s Cudi neighbourhood, since January 23. There has been no contact with this basement since January 30 and no news has been received as to what has happened to the rest of the people.

Atrocity 2

Also in the Cudi neighborhood, this basement had as many as 60 people in it. The Turkish state conducted a bombing attack on this basement on February 7, creating a fire that resulted in the death of at least 39 people. However the Turkish state is dispersing the bodies to other places and then revealing the number killed to minimize the people’s reaction and fragment evidence; thus it is feared that all the people in this basement have died – but we will be uninformed.

Atrocity 3

On the February 10, the third basement atrocity in Cizre occurred in the Sur neighborhood; with reports that at least 20 people have been scorched to death and another 20 injured people are entombed and still under impending threat of execution.

Former Northern Kurdistan has seen its worst violence in two decades since a two and a half year ceasefire between the Turkish state and the PKK collapsed in July 2015; reviving a conflict that has killed 40,000 people since 1984. The atrocities against Kurds have been monstrous; and the Western leaders need to stand against their fellow friend Erdogan NOW.

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Thank You Elif. I'd like to more about the Kurdish people. As a global citizen; Their struggle is ours too.
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