Kurdish nomads from the Cîzre district of the province of Şirnak (Şirnex) in southeast Turkey, have had to return from their summer pastures in the highlands early this year due to drought. Now they face the risk of not being able to feed their animals in winter.
While most of the highlands in the Besta region and the Namaz, Çirav and Herekol mountains are currently prohibited as “military zones”, the highlands in other regions are not adequate to the needs of nomads’ livestock herding. As a result of this, survival as a nomad in the mountains is becoming harder every year.
Müdür Ruvanas is a Kurdish man who has made a living as a nomadic livestock herder for 20 years. Ruvanas lives in Biyakup village in the Cîzre district. He stated that nomads have to search in other regions due to the lack of grazing areas in Cîzre today.
“The soldiers prevent the nomads from going up to the highlands. They’ve applied a prohibition; they won’t let anyone go to the highlands. Because of this there is less and less space for us to move around in. There is less and less space for livestock herders.” he said.
Ruvanas is calling for the prohibited highlands to be opened up again. He also said, “Rising hay and barley prices give us a hard time. If this continues, no one will be able to continue herding livestock.”
Despite all the difficulties, he likes being a nomad.
“We set up tables for ourselves and talk, we talk about animals, the world, we eat our food, we drink our tea”