Şemdinli District Speaks Up on Peace Process

BIANET 21.3.2013 – Local business owners, lawyers, politicians of Şemdinli – a far southeastern district where PKK launched its armed campaign in 1984 – spoke up to bianet and expressed their full support on the ongoing peace process.


A consensus has been made on the fact that Şemdinli suffered immensely during the past three decades and expected the peace with a sense of optimism.

“Why is everyone unhappy to come here?”

Özlem Bala (Local business owner): I wish that everyone united one day to be in solidarity. Because every tear dropped suffered Kurdish and Turkish people deeply. And Şemdinli, where the war first started, suffered the most. Peace is done where the war starts.

Halis Bala (Local business owner): The war broke out here first. And the first peace delegations entered Turkey through here. If the government took that chance in 2009, everything would be so different now. But we are still supporting the ongoing peace process. We also trust the government. PM Erdogan seems to do its best. We wish everyone to support the stakeholders: Either AKP, PDP or Öcalan.

Cabbar Taş (PDP Şemdinli Chair): If people are unhappy to be transferred here, then it is a public issue. Turkey must know that it is Turkey’s problem. The people are optimistic about the peace process. However, if the government betrays its people again, nobody will believe it anymore. No political parties should exploit the process for vote. The peace will come sooner or later. The blood will not be cleaned by blood.

“Everybody should take responsibility”

Abdullah Yılmaz (Local resident): The Imrali delegation went there for peace, for hope. We see soldier funerals everyday. They are our children, too. Let this bloodbath end. How long will it continue? They have been clashing for 35 years. And it was not resolved with guns. And it won’t in the future.

İzzettin Öztun (Local business owner): We have great expectations from the peace process. We want to have peace in this country. We shouldn’t look back. We have suffered enough and hopefully we won’t anymore. I hope the peace will come from where the war started.

Mehmet Demir (Teaboy): The peace process is going smoothly. We wish everyone to take responsibility to continue the process. 

Muharrem Tekin (Şemdinli Local Business and Drivers Association Chair): We regard the peace process with a sense of optimism even though we suffered in Şemdinli. For the first time, we observe a transparent peace process happening in Turkey. I think the next step should be the silencing of guns both on Turkish and Kurdish sides.

“There is a consensus here”

Mehmet Kayran (Şemdinli Interim Mayor): We have a good process here. We hope that there won’t be any major obstacles against peace. The ones who create obstacles don’t want peace between Turkish and Kurdish peoples. PKK can’t ignore Öcalan: Neither in Qandil nor in Europe. Because they take him too seriously.

Xızêm Yılmaz (Local resident): We want the bloodbath to end immediately. We want to see neither soldiers nor guerrillas dead. They are all our children.

Vatan Erler (Lawyer): I find it important that Öcalan’s messages has been forwarded through parliamentary deputies. And also PM Erdoğan seems to take it more seriously. It looks like everyone has reached a consensus to resolve the issues. (AD/NV/BM)