Bakur

“Bakur” is Kurdish for “North”. It refers to the land in the North of Kurdistan (the land where Kurds live), in the eastern part of Turkey, particularly the southeast.

The Turkish state was founded in 1923, at the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and a system of Turkish cultural and language assimilation was installed, known as ‘Turkification’. Kurdish and other languages were forbidden. Names of rivers, mountains, villages, cities and other places were changed to Turkish, and naming children anything other than Turkish names was also forbidden, as was education, books, etc in such languages.

The Kurdish freedom movement was founded in opposition to this forced assimilation, in favour of Kurdish and other minority cultural rights. As in Rojava, the pillars of the movement are radical democracy, women’s freedom and ecology, as well as a focus on pluralism and communal economy. Many co-operatives have been set up, though sadly many of these have been closed down or have been driven underground since 2015, when the peace process broke down and a mugh higher level of state repression resumed. This continues today.

The articles below are about co-operatives, communal and women’s economy, grassroots democracy, ecology and daily life in Bakur.

Ecology in Times of War

In 2021, too, the war in Kurdistan has a great impact on the struggle for an ecological society there. So we need to take a closer look at how these two issues relate to each other and what an ecological stance can look like in times of war. To that end, Make Rojava Green Again conducted an interview with Kamuran Akın from Humboldt University in Berlin.

Female sellers fined for refusing male sellers to work in all-women district market in Amed

Female sellers have been fined by the appointed mayor of Amed’s Bağlar Municipality for refusing male sellers to work in “Jiyan District Market”, all-women district market.

Raise in taxes affect the secondhand car market negatively in Turkey

Raise in Special Consumption Tax (ÖTV) affects the secondhand car market negatively in Turkey. Van Car Dealers’ Cooperative chairperson İsmet İnan stated that the capital of car dealers shopkeepers reduced by half and added they did not predict a drop in prices.

Hasankeyf Submerged by a Turkish Dam

Hasankeyf, an ancient town in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Batman (Êlih) – with a history of 12,000 years of human settlement – was engulfed in 2019 by the reservoir of a controversial hydroelectric dam project.

The Only Female Baker in Hani

Adalet Narin lives in the Hani district of Amed and she is the only female baker in the district. She makes bread and creates a social space for women in the district. She makes bread by giving shape the dough kneaded by women living in the district.

Economic Self-Governance in Democratic Autonomy: The Example of Bakur (Turkish Kurdistan)

This article aims to analyse the economic dimension of Democratic Autonomy, whose creation is projected to take place alongside politics, self-defence, diplomacy, culture, ecology and collective emancipation, and relates to the reader the arguments and experiences within the economic field.

Wan Market

Opposed to the economy controlled by the state and corporations, the number of cooperatives where relations of production and consumption are formed without intermediaries is on the rise. Recently, these cooperatives have begun to emerge in Kurdistan, as a reflection of the operation of an economy independent from the state and corporations. Below we share the interview we carried out with one of these co-operatives, the Medya Consumers’ Cooperative (Medya Tüketim Kooperatifi), at their market in Wan.

How Turkey’s Anti-Kurdish Crackdowns Threaten Women Across the Middle East

This article analyzes women’s political representation in Kurdish-majority regions of Turkey before and after the 2019 crackdown on elected mayors from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), as well as women’s political representation in the Syrian region of Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) before and after Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Explainer: Christian Communities in North and East Syria

Regarding language, history and religion, we can divide the Christian community in North and East Syria into three groups: Syriac, Assyrian and Armenian. The first two are culturally close to one another and share a common heritage, but separated on points of language and by historic theological differences.

We Want to Build a Self-Sufficient Economy in Kars

Despite the widespread dismissal of HDP mayors and their replacement by government appointed trustees, Kars Municipality – still under the co-chairmanship of Ayhan Bilgen and Şevin Alaca – is carrying out important activities on such issues as nourishment, co-operatives, and women’s rights. Ayhan Bilgen, who has spent many years in politics and has been working

Dam projects in southeast Turkey threaten centuries-old Alevi villages

The construction of two dams in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Adıyaman will lead to the forced migration of 5,000 members of the country’s Alevi community from lands where they have lived for thousands of years.

Last call for Hasankeyf as Ilisu Dam slowly engulfs it

Last call to try and stop the destruction of the 12,000 years old site.

Strengthening the change in ecological awareness!

Since the beginning of 2015, "Mesopotamia Ecology Movement", which was formed in 2011, has entered an important process of restructuring itself. Under a new structure and with profounder political claims, more and more people are getting involved for a more ecological society, producing a new dynamic which will have short- and long-term positive effects on Northern Kurdistan.

Turkish water policy in Syria and Iraq

In light of the conditions that Syria is currently facing, water has been cut off from North-east Syria and Iraq, and a policy is being pursued to starve and dehydrate millions of innocent civilians. This is not only happening on top of the current political conflicts in the region and its associated inhospitable living conditions but amidst the corona pandemic – all of which is taking place in front of the international community.

Turkey is reportedly depriving hundreds of thousands of people of water

The nation has been accused of breaking its agreement to ensure a flow of 500 cubic metres per second of the Euphrates flows through to Syria.

Urgent call to resolve mounting problems in Hasankeyf!

In past years, the ancient city of Hasankeyf attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, offering them the chance to explore the traces of more than 20 civilizations that contributed to the city’s cultural heritage. Hasankeyf – with a history spanning 12,000 years – held a special appeal to visitors from the region as well as to those from western Turkey and every corner of the globe, and this enabled local residents not only to provide for their families but also to share their specialized knowledge of this historic landscape.

Building Autonomy in Turkey and Kurdistan: an Interview with Revolutionary Anarchist Action

Below is the transcript of our interview with three members of the anarchist group Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF, or Revolutionary Anarchist Action) in Istanbul during May 2015. DAF are involved in solidarity with the Kurdish struggle, the Rojava revolution and against ISIS’ attack on Kobane, and have taken action against Turkish state repression and corporate

Interview with the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) in North Kurdistan

Kurdistan is not a poor country; it is a country that is being made poor. The lack of Coca Cola does not make us poor. Capitalist modernity, as Ocalan defines it, makes us poor. It wants to belittle people’s own production and to impose on the society capitalist mass production. That’s why the co-operatives and the communes that we have been establishing made the state feel uncomfortable. Because this represents a logic of rupture from mass production and a move towards the use of our own resources. The state was losing its market in Kurdistan.

Jurist: Appeal to International Courts Last Option if Turkey Keeps Reducing Euphrates water

Human rights defender, Hassan Mustafa asserted that friendly countries, the signatories of the Helsinki agreement, and the guarantors of the 1987 agreement, should force the Turkish state to change its policy towards the region. "we are going to resort to the international courts if Turkey continues to reduce the water level of the Euphrates River," he added.

Deposed co-mayor joins agricultural co-operative in Dersim

Deposed co-mayor Songül Doğan of the municipality of Akpazar in the province of Dersim continues her works in an agricultural co-operative.
Tabqa, dam, Rojava, Syria, Kurdistan

Turkey is Using Water as a Weapon of War

Turkey has always shown little understanding of the environment, also from an ecological point of view. It has shown no mercy towards nature and people, destroying the landscape and burying a millennia of history under water. One of the most perverse and ruthless ways of interfering in a country without actually entering it is by cutting

HDP mayor faces terrorism charges over ‘planting green beans’

A court in Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province has pushed forward with terrorism charges against a dismissed mayor from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over her municipality’s support for women’s cooperatives, which were planting green beans

‘A systematic programme to end agricultural production in Kurdistan’

Agricultural workers in the Kurdish-majority provinces of Turkey face obstacles in trying to reach water sources. This problem has been described as part of the government's intentional "systematic policy" by some experts.

Urban Renewal in Diyarbakır: A Tool for Gentrification and Assimilation?

Successive urban renewal projects in Diyarbakır’s (Amed’s) two strategic districts, Sur and Bağlar, might be designed to achieve hidden objectives of the Turkish state. These are the sentiments expressed by a number of urban specialists and residents, who suspect that under the discourse of ‘modernization’ and ‘economic revival’, there might be a secret agenda aimed at gentrification, assimilation and displacement of poor Kurdish citizens.