Arche­ol­o­gists have insist­ed on being involved in the demo­li­tion and recon­struc­tion projects car­ried out in the his­tor­i­cal neigh­bor­hood of Sur (Diyarbakır), destroyed by Turk­ish gov­ern­men­tal forces.

As the demo­li­tion was com­plet­ed of almost all the build­ings (in the Sur neigh­bor­hood of Diyarbakır) and infra­struc­ture con­struc­tions under­way for new build­ings, Büşra Cizre­lioğulları, spokesper­son for the plat­form « No to Demo­li­tion in Sur » called on experts and arche­ol­o­gists to come and watch over the work in Sur in order to pro­tect the arche­o­log­i­cal trea­sures buried there.

Speak­ing to Mezopotamya Haber, Cizre­lioğulları remind­ed read­ers that Sur is a his­tor­i­cal town in a pro­tect­ed zone and declared « Althought the demo­li­tion process in Sur is sup­pos­ed­ly done on a sci­en­tif­ic basis, we notice that no sci­en­tif­ic research has been con­duct­ed. There should be experts and arche­ol­o­gists here. But as can be seen, the work is done with­out any experts on hand. »

« Every meter in Sur is laden with his­to­ry. We can­not know what we will dis­cov­er after the demo­li­tions or the digs. We call on imme­di­ate digs. Each time they dig up from the earth a piece of his­to­ry, they could be touch­ing an entire his­tor­i­cal stra­ta. The gov­ern­ment should be aware of that, » Cizre­lioğulları declared.

Cizre­lioğulları also crit­i­cized the lack of trans­paren­cy regard­ing the con­tro­ver­sial build­ing plans in the his­tor­i­cal neigh­bor­hood of Sur and declared that no one knew what type of build­ings were planned for the demol­ished zone. Mem­bers of the « No to Demo­li­tion in Sur Plat­form » have there­fore called on experts to exam­ine the region and have asked for details on the con­struc­tion plans. They have received no answer at this time.

Cizre­lioğulları also declared that the right to infor­ma­tion had been denied by Turk­ish author­i­ties and added : « We see that they (the Turk­ish civ­il ser­vants) make plans and pro­ceed with­out bring­ing them to anyone’s atten­tion. We will con­tin­ue our attempts to dis­cov­er to what use these new con­struc­tions will be put. »

Sur was the scene of inten­sive urban fight­ing between the Turk­ish secu­ri­ty forces and the armed groups of self-defense of the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Par­ty (PKK), fol­low­ing the dec­la­ra­tion of auton­o­my on Decem­ber 3 2015. The fight­ing last­ed for three months and, as a result, a sec­tion of Sur was demol­ished by the gov­ern­men­tal forces. Even before the end of the fight­ing, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment had announced extreme­ly con­tro­ver­sial plans to rebuild the old town of Sur.

Despite resis­tance by the local pop­u­la­tion, Turkey began demol­ish­ing build­ings last year.

From which we can see that, fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of elect­ed mem­bers and the seiz­ing of con­trol, the AKP gov­ern­ment pur­sues in all impuni­ty its « urban project » with total dis­re­gard for the his­to­ry and cul­ture of the spaces it wish­es to re-define.

Arti­cle inspired from a brief pub­li­ca­tion in Mezopotamya Haber

En français : “Diyarbakır • Sur et l’ef­face­ment de la mémoire” Cliquez pour lire

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