“The collective memory of Diyarbakir is being destroyed”

While the curfew in Sur ended today after nine days, the entire region, which is in the UNESCO World Heritage List, hangs by a major threat.

According to the information that Faruk Balıkçı, a journalist from Diyarbakir, gave to Agos, 3 civilians were killed during the curfew. Also, a police officer was killed, while he was trying to defuse a bomb installed near Kurşunlu Mosque. In addition, 2 people were injured while protesting the curfew and one of them (Harun Şanlı, 23) is in critical condition. 

Balıkçı reported that while the protest marches in provinces like Bismil and Çınar continue, the tension increases in the region.

And in Suriçi, historical structures are in great danger. The minaret of Şeyh Mutahhar Mosque was damaged in recent weeks and the Chair of Diyarbakir Bar Association Tahir Elçi was killed while he was making a press statement about this damage. Moreover, a fire broke out in Kurşunlu Mosque; ironically, in 1517, Saint Theodore Church was burnt in order to build Kurşunlu Mosque on its place. While HDP claims that the mosque was struck from the air by the security forces, the government claims that PKK guerillas set the mosque on fire.

Though the reason of the fire is still unknown, journalist Balıkçı reported that the security forces didn’t allow the fire brigade to enter the area in order to the put out the fire. Balıkçı also added that no civilian is allowed to enter Suriçi and clashes with heavy weapons continue.

Soyukaya: the heritage of humankind is being destroyed

Nevin Soyukaya, Director of Spatial Management of Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens, is one the people who wasn’t allowed to enter the area during the fire in Kurşunlu Mosque. Assessing the damage in the historical region and sending scientific reports on this issue to the ministry via UNESCO Turkish Commission, Soyukaya said that they cannot determine the gravity of the current condition of Suriçi. Reminding that the region itself is a world heritage site, Soyukaya stated that both the historical structures and the collective memory are in great danger: “The heritage of the world, of the mankind, is being damaged and destroyed. The collective memory of Diyarbakir is being destroyed. In this sense, we, the descendants of that collective memory, are threatened.”


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