Village guards in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Şırnak (Şirnex) continue to deforest areas as part of a strategy of the Turkish forces in the war against Kurdish fighters and have turned the task into a commercial activity, providing hundreds of tonnes of wood for the local markets, Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported.
Shopkeepers in Urfa (Riha), some 350 km from Şırnak, say that around 600 tonnes of wood arrives daily from Şırnak.
Deforestation by village guards has been continuing for the last two years, particularly in areas near mount Judi, Besta and Gabar, while eco-activist groups in Turkey and internationally have remained silent.
Shopkeepers at Urfa’s timber market told MA that it’s not possible for the village guards to chop down the trees without the permission of the authorities.
Hüseyin Öge, one of the shopkeepers, asserted that they can get large quantities of wood from sellers in Şırnak because of the military operations.
Another shopkeeper, Ali Karabacak, said that all firewood sold in the market in Urfa were provided from Şırnak within the last year.
“These trees are not chopped down illegally. The authorities gave permission for it,” he added.