Turkish Government Refuses Humanitarian Aid to Yezidi Refugees

By Amy L. Beam, Ed.D:

Since the Islamic State terrorists invaded Shengal (also known as Sinjar) in Iraq on August 3, an estimated 27,000 Yezidis have fled with the clothes on their backs to the safety of Turkey.  At least 21,000 were guided on foot by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to the mountain pass then into the village of Roboski, Turkey (North Kurdistan).

After spending one night recovering in the Roboski school, they were transferred by bus to other emergency refugee locations in Hilal, Şenoba, Şirnak, Cizre, Silopi, Siirt, Batman, Bismil, Mardin, Diyarbakir, and Şanliurfa.  The donations of housing, food, clothing, bedding, medicines, and transportation between locations is coordinated entirely by local Kurdish municipalities (Belediyesis) and volunteers.

Yezidis living in tent made of blankets in Bismil, Turkey, Sept 12, 2014

Yezidis living in tent made of blankets in Bismil, Turkey, Sept 12, 2014

In twelve different camps, the Belediyesis camp managers stated that financial assistance has been denied by both  the Governors’ offices and the Ankara central government.

In order to understand the financing situation, one must understand the local governance structure.  In each town and city the mayor is elected, but the governor is appointed from Ankara.  The Kurdish DBP party elects co-mayors, one woman and one man.  They can run their city, but they lack adequate budgets.  The governors control the budgets and approve program requests.

Thus, the governors of Sirnak, Batman, Mardin, and Amed (Diyarbakir) have denied requests for financial help and also help in the form of medicines.   All the expenses of providing for the Yezidi refugees has been borne by the local Belediyesis and donations.  They have done a super-human effort in saving the Yezidis, but they are stretched beyond their capacity and urgently need financial support.

The situation in Diyarbakir Yezidi camp located 20 km south of the city in Fidanlik Park, is the most serious.  People are sleeping outdoors without enough tents or blankets.

Yezidis in the camp complained of not enough food or clean drinking water.  There is no place for washing except four outdoor faucets.  Yet, Diyarbakir Governor and Ankara have refused funding for the Yezidi camp.  If this situation continues, there will be a humanitarian crisis.

Diyarbakir co-mayor, Gültan Kışanak, speaking at the Democratic Economy Conference, in Diyarbakir on Sept. 12, tackled this issue head-on, stating “Diyarbakir is the biggest city that owns the biggest share of public resources. But a special policy is pursued regarding these public resources. We do not have the control of where the money gained from these resources goes.”

“We do not only want political autonomy but at the same time want financial autonomy”, Kışanak stressed.

According to a report in the Hurriyet Daily News on August 13, a proposal by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for an inquiry into the problems of the Yezidis was rejected in Turkey’s Parliament.

Midyat refugee camp for Yezidis is run by the Turkish government

Midyat refugee camp for Yezidis is run by the Turkish government

The only city in which the Turkish government is sheltering Yezidis is in Midyat which is run by the government as a prison camp behind barbed wire with armed soldiers guarding it.

The Yezidis are caught in limbo, stating they can never return to Shengal where their families were killed, and kidnapped, and sold for sex slaves.  The Turkish government refuses to help them inside Turkey and takes a position that they will return to Iraq.

Justice and Development Party (AKP) Kirikkale deputy Besir Atalay told journalists that Turkey would prefer the Yezidi community stay outside of the country instead of coming to Turkey.  To this end,  Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) has sent humanitarian aid to Iraq to set up refugee tent camps in Zakho and Duhok.

As for the international community of NGOs, parliaments and congresses of the world, their silence is deafening.

Surely if a coalition of countries can decide within 48 hours to bomb Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria and to ship heavy arms to Iraq to fight the Islamic State terrorists in order to get at that oil in Kurdistan, then they can take quick and decisive action to offer asylum to the Yezidis.

Winter is around the corner and the Yezidis and local municipalities need help urgently.  Everyone can help in some way.  The local Belediyesis and mayors running Yezidi camps in Turkey are listed below:

Dr. Amy L. Beam promotes tourism in eastern Turkey at Mount Ararat Trek and writes in support of Kurdish human rights.  She has been following the Yezidis from Roboski border north.  Follow her on Twitter @amybeam or email her at amybeam@yahoo.com. 

Follow other news stories on Yezidis by Amy L Beam at http://kurdistantribune.com/?s=amy+l+beam

3 Responses to Turkish Government Refuses Humanitarian Aid to Yezidi Refugees
  1. […] ISIS fighters. How unfortunate it is that while the Erdoğan regime welcomes ISIS into Turkey, it treats its Yezidi victims with such disdain. Then again, the issue for Turkey is no longer democracy vs. totalitarianism or terrorist vs. […]

  2. Yousif
    September 24, 2014 | 04:00

    Turkish government has always been fearful of Kurdish independence in South.

  3. […] Turkish Government Refuses Humanitarian Aid to Ezidis […]

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