The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Dora: HDP Considering Commission On Syriac And Yezidi Issues


(ANF/ANKARA/ALİ BARIŞ KURT) In an interview with ANF, HDP Mardin MP Erol Dora has declared that any solution to the problem of Syriac and Yezidi land-claims needed to be solved through democratic politics, and that debates were ongoing with the HDP around the creation of a commission to investigate Syriac and Yezidi issues.

Dora said “this commissions should be composed of public intellectuals, legal scholars and MPs and should investigate this issue with discriminating. The Swedish example is now appropriate for Turkey. That is to say solving the problem through a designated body and without going to the courts.” Dora went on to say that “we defending democratic autonomy have to solve these many different problems which confront us” and pointed to how Öcalan’s interest in these questions was creating excitement in the Yezidi and Syriac communities.

“They Were Exiled And Their Lands Confiscated”

Dora began by recalling how Assyrians and Syriacs have been exposed to various massacres and displacements in their history, noting that  “in recent years too they have been forced to leave their homelands and these pressures intensified particularly after the 1980’s. Yezidi and Syriac villages were abandoned and some were forcibly evacuated by the state.”

Dora drew attention to how land-survey work began in the 1990’s when “many Yezidi and Syriac residents were living abroad. They were in exile. At that time the borders of the villages were clear but because our people were not here neighboring villages expanded in a manner detrimental to Syriac villages. When the land survey was undertaken many of these villages and their property, fields, orchards and gardens were registered in others’ names.”

Statute Of Limitations

Dora explained that as many estates were registered in others’ names and that as no court cases were opened within the first ten years that the statute of limitations within land law had already come into effect. Dora said “Syriacs and Yezidis in particular are living in European countries for political reasons. Owing to the low-intensity war which began at the end of the 1980’s villages were evacuated. When the land surveys were done people could not claim their rights as they were not in their villages or these regions. In modern times, including the 1915 genocide, there has been a transfer of property. Property belonging to Armenians, Syriacs and Yezidis were taken over by others. Throughout the history of the Republic these seizures of property have continued to occur at a more moderate rate. And it continues today.”

“Many People Are Under Threat”

Dora spoke about a recent court case in Batman which he had witnessed, saying “lands belonging to Yezidis had been taken over by a local tribe. They won’t return them. Despite having won in court on various issues – and being likely to win in a court of appeals – nothing has been done and they cannot get the land back.” Erol added, “in the region you cannot seek your rights freely as required by the principals of the rule of law. In the region strength is important. Many people are under threat.”

“Mr. Öcalan’s Message Has Created Much Excitement”

Dora recalled how Kurdish Popular Leader Abdullah Öcalan drew attention to this problem in his most recent meeting, saying “It is certainly very meaningful for Syriacs and Yezidis that this problem was spoken about by Mr. Öcalan. Following this message our people have approached the problem with excitement. At the same time it gave us confidence. Politics must play a role in a solution to this problem. There will be no result from going to the courts, in  particular in this region where force and not the law matters. Political solutions to problems are an art. One needs to be on the side of the oppressed. It is not enough to just speak about problems in the parliament. We must also play a role in practice.”

“A Commission Should Be Formed”

“We will debate founding a commission to solve this problem. Yesterday (Sunday) this subject came up on the agenda at both our party group meeting and a meeting we held among ourselves. We have been bringing up this problem for a long time but we have yet to see any concrete steps taken.”

“This commissions should be composed of public intellectuals, legal scholars and MPs and should investigate this issue with discriminating. The Swedish example is now appropriate for Turkey. That is to say solving the problem through a designated body and without going to the courts. We could form a commission of well known legal scholars and MPs in the region. Because many Syriacs are not opening court cases out of fear or because [they know] that even if they win the case they will not be able to take back possession of their lands. If a commission is formed then a just solution might be found and steps might be taken.”

“We Must Create The Conditions For Return”

The peace process initiated by Mr. Öcalan has created hopes abroad around the question of ‘return.’ But if we leave these problems to current conditions how can we want them to return? The conditions must be created by us. The balance of forces in the region is important. People cannot go and open cases. But if we all are defending the freedom of the peoples and a common life for all peoples based in the paradigm of the democratic nation we must do what is necessary. The concrete response of our paradigm must be to find a solution to this problem. We are trying to build democratic autonomy and these problems are on this model’s agenda. For the paradigm of the democratic nation to manifest in practice we need to intervene in such events. We must show the greatest effort for the creation of a democratic environment and universal law.”

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .

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