Journalist from besieged city of Cizre: Help us!


Serdal Benli, a Kurdish-Danish politician, received the following mail from journalist Asya Tekin who is currently in the Kurdish town of Cizre in Şirnak province.

Right now I am in the town of Cizre in Şirnak province. For the past 15 days a curfew has been in effect and we do not know how long it will last. Around 100,000 people live in Cizre and almost 30,000 citizens have been forced to leave the town due to the curfew.

The Turkish state has initiated an ethnic cleansing which is being carried out by 10,000 soldiers, police officers and private security units. Their special operations are targeted against the Kurdish population, especially in the neighborhoods of Cudi, Sur, Yafes and Nur. During these two weeks, 22 people have been killed by bombs, grenades, hand weapons and snipers. Four of the victims were babies, five were women and the last 13 were married and leave behind family.

I work for JINHA (Women’s News Agency) and disseminate news about the struggles that women face and the obstacles they experience in these [Kurdish] areas.

I have witnessed how the state’s massive destruction of people’s homes has forced them to seek refuge in basements and storerooms. There can be up to 150 people in such a location and they are in desperate need of heat and clean water to drink. The police have destroyed all infrastructure including water supplies so people have to collect water in bottles in the street so their children can get something to drink.

The people in Cizre do not want to leave. The injured are scared to go to the hospital because they fear being shot by snipers. Even those who walk with white flags are shot and killed. Two women who went into premature labor lost their newborn babies and they have still not been given permission to bury them. […] Schools are being used as bases for the military operations.

The three-months-old Miray Ince was shot by a sniper and died in the arms of her aunt. Police and military continue to attack people who wish to bury their dead relatives. People are running out of food. There has been no electricity for the past 15 days and there is no way of charging phones or keeping warm. People in Cizre are forced to use firewood to cook. […]

We journalists live under the same conditions. Two days ago police bombed a house we were staying in. The house was completely razed to its foundation so the family we stayed with had to seek refuge in another family’s basement with their seven kids. Fearing that snipers will shoot them if they venture out into the streets, people are making holes in the walls so they can move through the houses. This is also the way they share information, food and other necessities.

We are dealing with ruthless state violence. Listen to the call from Cizre and stop the Turkish state’s brutality. As a human being I want to contribute to the end of this violence. But right now we cannot even leave this place. The sound of artillery and bombs are deafening. Everyone is scared but no one wants to give in to state terrorism and leave his home and land. If we die, we will die in our home. We do not want to become migrants.

Help Cizre by sharing our message about the Turkish state’s brutality against its own civilian population.

It might be too late by tomorrow.

Love from Cizre!

Journalist Asya Tekin

Originally posted in Danish on Danish-Kurdish online news platform Nudem. Translated to English by Alliance for Kurdish Rights.