Translated by: Translators for justice
Translator’s note: Please click on the link above to view the images of graffiti mentioned in the text.
October 18th, 2015
We spoke with the President of Diyarbakir Bar Association, Tahir Elçi, about the graffiti that has recently appeared in Silvan, a province in Southeastern Turkey near Diyarbakır. Special operations police were also seen firing shot in the air with yelling Islamic chants (takbir) in Idil province of Şırnak.
Elçi stated that these images remind him of the oppressive days of the 1990s and pointed out that in the past special operations police were closer to a nationalist ideology, whereas today a radical religious-nationalist attitude is dominant.
The graffiti, “Esedullah timi” (literally translated as the lions of Allah team) have been written by religious-nationalist groups inside the special operations forces, Elçi said, by a group that operates with a jihadist perspective.
Some of the highlights from Elçi’s statements are as follows:
“An approach more dangerous than in the 90s”
“In the 90s, the special operations police were more under the influence of MHP (a Turkish nationalist political party) and the party’s nationalist ideology. Slogans degrading Kurdish identity and people such as “Damn to human rights” were also cheered then.
“Today though, we see that the same special operations forces are under a radical religious-nationalist influence and have become much more dangerous.”
“Fight against violence is also subject to the law”
“There is a serious threat because a perspective that sees Kurdish people as really and truly the enemy, a perspective which has no boundaries to its hate, feels no commitment to any rule of law, and complete basis of this approach is shooting and killing are permissible.”
“Even if you are in the special operations forces, fighting against violence, armed militants and outlaw activities, you are still obliged to do your duty in the framework set by regulations and law.”
“People see them as Occupation Forces”
“While we talk about the dangers of people confronting each other, thank God this trend doesn’t exist in either the Kurdish or Turkish populations.”
“However, as religious radicalism among security personnel grows and integrates with the already existing extreme nationalism, the situation becomes far more dangerous.”
“With security forces behaving this way without even the pretense of rule of law, Kurdish society sees them as occupation forces coming to kill.”
“The meaning of firing in the air while yelling takbir chants…”
“Among the religious Kurdish population, what is the meaning of firing into the air and using takbir chants? We are facing an increasingly alienated structure that sees society as an enemy. State-society relations are increasingly dissolving.”
“Esedullah group operates with a jihadist perspective”
“The Esedullah group can be seen in many places. It is a structure composed of people who label themselves as nationalist and religious, and operate with some kind of jihadist perspective.”
“They see Kurdish people as non-Muslims and this situation is becoming dangerous.”
“This situation is also related to Tayyip Erdogan’s statements such as ‘These (Kurds) are Zoroastrian, they have nothing to do with Islam’.”