Tunceli (pronounced [tundʒeli]; Kurdish: Dêrsim, Zazaki: Desim or Mamekiye) is a city in North Kurdistan / eastern Turkey. Former names of the city include Mamiki (from the Armenian: Mamikon), Kalan, and Dersim.
Tunceli, meaning “Iron hand” in Turkish was the name of the Turkish military operation to assimilate (turkify) the people by force. After the Dersim rebellion (also called the Dersim massacre, or genocide), any villages and towns deemed to have non-Turkish names were renamed and given Turkish names in order to suppress any non-Turkish heritage.
The city is in the valley of Munzur, surrounded by the high Munzur mountains. The city has limited means of transport to other cities. The population of the city was 32,815 as of 2011.
Ninety-eight percent of Tunceli’s population has at least a primary school education, leading to one of the highest rates of literacy for a district within Turkey. In 1979/1980 Tunceli had the highest number of students attending universities as well as the top entry points until the only higher education school shut down and was converted to a military base.
Tunceli University was established on May 22, 2008. It has departments in international relations, economics, environmental protection engineering, industrial engineering, electronic engineering, computer engineering and mechanical engineering.
The main economic activity is animal breeding. Wheat is the only notable agricultural product. There are chromium salt and marble deposits. But only salt is produced. There are a few factories based on agriculture.
In the context of Kurdistan, ecocide is launched not only for looting resources, but also for the sake of destruction of any kind of resistance, in ignorance of the complexity of relations of different life forms that make life itself possible.
In the summer of 2023, Mount Cudi is once again the site of significant wildfires, marking a recurring environmental challenge that has profound implications for the region which is an important part of the Kurdish geography. This event brings to the forefront an interview with Zozan Pehlivan, an environmental historian of the modern Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, and Ottoman Kurdistan, conducted in 2020, now translated into English by MedyaNews, that explores the intricate connections between ecology, economy, and history in Turkey, Kurdistan and beyond.
The number of women’s cooperatives empowering women living in the southeastern part of Turkey to make money by selling what they produce is increasing every day. However, they do not have any space to sell their products.
Women occupy a central role in the political project of « democratic autonomy » defended by the Kurdish liberation movement for the past fifteen years. We often hear talk of the parity practiced in all its institutions and of the male-female co-presidencies. But the accomplishments and the strength of the women’s movement go well beyond that and manage to unite a great number of women.
Ecology is one of the three pillars of the paradigm of Democratic Confederalism, the political-theoretical concept of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Besides democracy and gender liberation, ecology has been mentioned explicitly as a dimension in this concept since 2005. However to date, ecology is less discussed and practiced than the two other pillars.
Deposed co-mayor Songül Doğan of the municipality of Akpazar in the province of Dersim continues her works in an agricultural co-operative.