“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.
Züleyhan Sezgin is a farmer working in the Hevsel Gardens. “Our incomes don’t meet our expenses due to the increasing price hikes. We could plant vegetables only in a field because we couldn’t buy fertilizer,” she says.
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.
Four women will open a “Women’s Bazaar” in the Sur district of Diyarbakır. “Our aim is to create job opportunities for women,” the women say.
The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement launched a campaign to plant saplings throughout April against the destruction of nature.
Three women bake local bread in their “Tandoor House they opened in Çêwlig to have economic freedom. The Tandoor House become the hope for women living in the city and the people of the city prefer to buy bread made by these three women. Zehra Ataoğlu is one of three women and she tells us how they decided to open their bakery.
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.
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.
Kurdish Farmers in Şırnak follow tradition and sing 'stran' in chorus and harvest in harmony.
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.
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.
For the recently announced new invasion we have to expect chemical weapons attacks of Turkey! Already during the Turkish invasion of Serêkaniyê in 2019 the Turkish state used chemical weapons, including white phosphorus and napalm. 33 people were burned in this attack. Nature is being harmed and transformed in the long run. “Effects of chemical
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.
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
Women have founded Gölbaşı Women’s Cooperative in Sensur province. Emine Köseler, the chair of the cooperative, says they want to encourage women to take part in the production, “Such cooperatives should be founded everywhere in the region.”
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 to try and stop the destruction of the 12,000 years old site.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beginning just three years ago with only two women, the Kibele Cooperative run by Kurdish women in Urfa has almost 50 members today and is run using a co-presidency system.
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
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.
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.
In their search for an alternative, solidarity form of economy, the Kurdish freedom movement has organized a series of events, workshops, podium discussions and bigger conferences under the motto, "Let's communalize our land, our water and our energy, let's build a democratic, free life!"
Deposed co-mayor Songül Doğan of the municipality of Akpazar in the province of Dersim continues her works in an agricultural co-operative.
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
TJA started preparations to create women's cooperatives in Van.
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.
Despite the attacks, the Rojava Film Commune has produced many films since 2015. The Commune is constantly working to become the language of the Rojava Revolution.