Southeast Turkey wildfires deliberately set to target region - jailed politician Demirtaş

The jailed former chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş on Monday said the raging wildfires in southeastern Tunceli province were deliberately set as part of an ongoing “policy’’ targeting the region’s Kurdish population.

Wildfires afflicting Tunceli province in eastern Turkey wreaked havoc in the region for 13 days.The fires started August 18th near the border between Hozat and Ovacık districts, scorching the landscape while threatening lives as they reached within 600 meters of local villages.

"Most of the forests in that region are deliberately set on fire while no intervention is allowed,’’ Demirtaş said on Twitter in an apparent reference to the government. “This is an intentional and formal policy that has been going on for decades.’’

The former HDP co-chair, who is behind bars on a string of terror charges, went to accuse Turkey’s citizens of failing to show solidarity with wildfire victims in Kurdish-majorith Tuneli, in contrast to public outcry over the wildfires in southwest Turkey earlier this month.

The region is being set on fire for the “same reason Dersim was bombed in 1938’’ Demirtaş added, referring to the mass murder of the Kurds in Dersim, Tunceli of 1937-1938 by the Turkish army resulting in the death of 20,000- 30,000 Kurds.

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