Attack on Sarıkeçili Nomad’s Caravan by Municipality

Attack on Sarıkeçili Nomad’s Caravan by Municipality

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Click to read the article in Turkish 

The 11th Traditional Sarıkeçili Yoruks Nomadic Movement Caravan Festival of Anatolia’s last nomades, Sarıkeçili Yoruk Nomads have been attacked by Kazım Karabekir Municipality.  

The event launched in Çoka Çesmesi of Hacıbaba Mountain in Kazımkarabekir district with the motto “Climate Change and Pastoral Nomadism” to be carried out on May 13-14-15 has started with tensions and ended with an attack on the last day.

In the event, climate change and water problems have been discussed besides various competitions.

The statement of announcement has included the following:

“Climate change has made us immigrate with our […] animals before prematurely. Since our migration movement has begun, we and our animals have been experiencing great difficulties as we could not find water anywhere. We are again on the road, heading to highlands. We feel the joy of the highlands in us but do also wish that there were some rain on the roads we have been walking and in the highlands we arrive at so that water fills the streams. We are moving with the hope to be able to provide water for our animals”.

“Mayor said ‘don’t discuss on water’”

The tensions have begun with the water problem.

Sarıkeçeliler Association for Cooperation and Solidarity President Pervin Çoban Savran talking to bianet has explained what had happened as follows:

“We had talked about the water problem on our Caravan event. Because we are having problems finding water for the animals. The water in the fountain, where the event takes places, has been transported to stone pits with pipes for years. And there is no water left for us. On May 14, the Mayor of Kazım Karabekir Municipality has come and said ‘why are you talking about water in the event, just talk about nomadism’. And I told yoruks needed water to survive”.

Attacked by Municipality Teams

Oğuzhan Çoban has told what had happened as they had been driving on the vehicle for guests as follows:

“It was around 4 p.m. We have been intercepted as we wanted to enter Kazım Karabekir district. Municipality workers have gotten out of the vehicle and during that time we have not got out of our vehicles and called the police. One of them has called out ‘Mr. the searched ones have been found’. They have started to curse and attack on us. They have said ‘How dare you talk to the administrative chief’. There are material damages on the vehicle and we have a report”.

Pervin Savran has expressed that this was not the first time they were attacked and had individually been exposed to various attacks for years during the movement yet that this was now the first time they were experiencing a mass attack by a municipality.  

Kazım Karabekir Municipality has announced that they did not wish to make any new statements ın the matter.

Sarıkeçili Yoruk

They are the last nomads of Anatolia; the Sarıkeçili Yoruk.  

They begin their movement with the beginning of the spring departing from the Mediterranean coast where they spend the winter in tents made of goat hair and head towards the highlands of Middle Anatolia through the Taurus mountains. When autumn comes, they go back to the mild Mediterranean coasts.

They spend one third of the year in their houses they have loaded on their camels, with their horses and dogs behind their goats. Yet alongside pressures imposed by the state and nature being destroyed,  the nomades have begun to switch to settled life by time.

Currently, there are only 187 Sarıkeçili nomad families which is approximately 1,200 Sarıkeçili nomads. Their animals have also become fewer; only 100 camels are left and they have only 150 goats per family. (NV/DG)  

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