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ARA News – Exclusive
Nusaybin, Turkey− The Turkish authorities took a decision last month to build an isolation-wall between the Turkish city of Nusaybin, where Kurds form a majority, and the neighbouring Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishlo. With the start of the implementation of the wall project three weeks ago, a wide popular anger broke out among Kurds in both Kurdish cities because of the connotations the Turkish decision apparently bears. Kurdish residents of Nusaybin and Qamishlo considered the Turkish step as an attempt to further separate Kurds in Turkey and Syria by a “racist wall”.
Turkey’s officials described the alleged wall as a necessity to maintain security at the borders with the war-torn neighbouring country.
Angry protesters in Nusaybin and Qamishlo headed towards the border crossing, calling on the Turkish government to stop what they called “project of racist wall”, describing the wall further as the “wall of shame”. However, the process of building the isolation-wall continued by the Turks.
Aicha Kucan, the Mayor of Nusaybin, protested against the government’s decision by entering a hunger strike for nine days and camping at the bordering area with Qamishlo. Kucan’s action was widely supported by the residents of Nusaybin, and led the Turkish government to temporarily suspend the project implementation.
In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Nusaybin Mayor Aicha Kucan expressed her strong condemnation to the Turkish decision, demanding the authorities to “stop the construction at the made-up borders between the same nation (Kurdish nation)”.
The Kurdish Mayor criticized the Turkish government saying: “A government that does not respect its people will never respect the local authority (of Nusaybin) that was elected by the same people. The Turkish government did not ask our opinion about the wall’s construction, so there is no appreciation to what we and all people of Nusaybin think about such an issue which has basically a national dimension for the Kurds.”
Kucan said that Nusaybin’s local authority knew about the Turkish decision “through the media”.
“We submitted an official letter to Ankara demanding the government to stop this shameful project, but no respond,” she told ARA News. “We made several attempts to stop those working on building the wall, but they were working over after partial pauses. They insisted that it is a military action that must be taken. This shows a clear monopoly of the decision-making process. Thus, I thought an action of civil resistance such as protesting in the area and going on hunger strike may put some pressure on the authorities.”
According to Kucan, building an isolation-wall between two Kurdish cities, “regardless of the fact that they are located in two different countries”, is merely a “political decision” that targets the Kurdish people in Nusaybin and Qamishlo.
Kucan compared the planned wall between the two Kurdish cities to the Berlin Wall and the wall of Gaza.
“It is a racist action which not only aims to forcibly separate the Kurds, but also creates animosity among communities of the region. Thus, everyone who intends to remain silent about Turkey’s decision to build this wall will later be found responsibility and viewed as partners in this chauvinistic project,” Kucan said.
The Turkish government tried to eliminate the Kurdish anger about Nusaybin-Qamishlo wall project, issuing a statement saying it is “not building a wall” but it tries to protect its residents against “mines planted in the bordering area”.
According to sources, the wall is supposed to cover a distance of five kilometers along the borders with Syria, which means totally blocking the connection between Nusaybin and Qamishlo/al-Qamishli in Syria.
Kucan said that as “a result of the protests”, the government promised last week that it will stop building the wall. “However, such promises cannot be fully trusted as most of the construction materials still exist in the area where construction work started few weeks ago,” she said. “They are trying to lie to the public.”
“The Prime Minister Receb Tayyyip Erdogan, who visited Gaza and condemned the wall built by Israeli authorities there, is building the same wall in Nusaybin,” said Kucan, adding that the Turkish PM is losing credibility “as his government tried to lie to itself and to its people”.
Nusaybin Kurdish Mayor concluded that the Kurdish people “will fight against any chauvinistic practices”, and “will never allow a racist wall to be built between two Kurdish cities”.
Interview by: Zara Seida
Source: ARA News
(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid. Translation by: Rwaida Alharfoush)