Almost 50 thousand village guards on duty

ANF – Ankara 27.11.2013 – The Turkish Minister of the Interior Muammer Güler has answered the parliamentary question tabled by HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Istanbul deputy Levent Tüzel on village guards, asking for answers from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Concerning the number of village guards currently on duty in the Kurdish region, Güler said the village guard system has been active since 1985 to “provide support for security forces responsible for the people’s security of life and property”. Güler stated that the system was first started with 7,257 temporary village guards in 13 provinces and now continues with 48.130 village guards on temporary duty in 22 provinces. The Minister noted that 1,617 village guards have lost their life since 1985, and that their families have been provided with financial support.

In response to Tüzel’s question “For what reason officials rejected the applications of village guards who submitted their resignation”, Güler said the followings concerning the village guards in Şırnak who were denied resignation after losing their relatives in the Roboski massacre which claimed the life of 34 Kurdish civilians, mostly children, in the village of Roboski, in Uludere district on 28 December 2011; “The Governor of Şırnak is running the necessary investigation into the incident in consideration of the information he received concerning the repression these village guards were subjected to in order for their resignation”. The Minister did not answer the question on the budget allocated to village guards and whether any legal works were being performed for their disarmament.