Women of Sur: let them knock our houses down around us, we won’t leave!

DIYARBAKIR – Women reacted to the blockade of Sur (an urban district of Diyarbakır). “Let them come and knock our houses down around our ears; we won’t leave here by our own power,” the women said.

Demolition has been ongoing for months in the Sur district of Diyarbakır, where, this morning, police surrounded the Alipaşa neighborhood with a blockade. Hundreds of riot police and dozens of TOMA-model armored vehicles were deployed to the Alipaşa neighborhood, which police surrounded with metal barricades. Police are controlling residents’ entry and exit, while outsiders are not being allowed into the neighborhood. Journalists trying to bring the events in the neighborhood to the public were forcefully removed from the area under blockade.

‘What they’re doing accords with no belief system’

Women reacted to the police blockade, saying they did not want to leave Sur. Huriye Akpolat noted that she was born and grew up in the neighborhood. “How can someone leave the place where they were born? Sur is the home of the poor, after all. Now they’re telling us, ‘go and live in an apartment complex.’ We could live here on 500 lira a month; how are we going to live in those houses? This is the reality of the people of Sur. Instead of going and living there, hungry and unable to breathe, we’ll stay here and be hungry but we’ll be able to breathe. Sur is our breath. We won’t leave even if they kill us. What they’re doing to us accords with no belief system,” said Huriye.

‘This is happening because we’re not united’

Cahide stressed that what was happening was an insult of humanity and that they have been subjected to every kind of repression for months. She said that despite all the difficulties and repression, they have not abandoned the neighborhood. “At this point, even if they come and knock our houses down around our ears, we won’t leave. If they’re going to be faithless, we’ll be even more faithless. What they have done is an outrage. What do they want from these people? We have two grams of happiness and peace, and they’ve got their eyes on that, too. They’re talking about ‘socializing’ things; what social? Who gave them permission to socialize anything? The crime isn’t even theirs; the crime starts with our people who sold their houses and left. If on that day we had been united and not sold, we wouldn’t be facing this repression today. Whatever happened to us, happened because we weren’t united. Let them come and knock our houses down around our ears; we won’t leave here by our own power,” said Cahide.

80-year-old Rabia said, “We came to Diyarbakır because of state repression in Bingöl [province]. We settled down here in Sur. When we got to Sur, the house was made of earth and we used every resource at our disposal to build a four-story house. My children grew up on these streets. I grew old here. Now the state is telling me to leave. If I leave here, where am I going to settle down? They cut off our water some time ago. I carry water to my house with a hose, but despite all these difficulties, I’m not leaving my house. Whatever happens, I won’t leave this place.”