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From Village Evacuations to Village Money Documentary


The documentary From Village Evacuations to Village Money covers the story of the evacuation process of Sugeldi, Konalga, Dalbastı, Kaçıt and Övedek villages located in the Çatak district of Van. During the 90s, when forced displacements, unsolved crime and physical violence prevailed in the Kurdish geography, these villages were also deeply affected by this harsh atmosphere. Families who left their villages migrated to the central districts of Van. The migration process, one of the most important events experienced by the people of the region in history, brought with it a sharp impoverishment caused by severe economic losses, and deep psychological traumas on those especially women and children who experienced village evacuations.

The local people, whose villages were evacuated, have taken the issue to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights. The lawsuits were concluded in favour of the villagers in 2004 (there are still pending lawsuits) and the Turkish Grand National Assembly enacted a law to remedy the violations of rights. Damage assessment commissions were established to cover the cost of the damage, but a series of problems were encountered in the damage assessment process. Incorrect or incomplete determination of damages, evidence problems regarding perished animals, and conflicts and even blood feuds within the families, especially when villagers registered lands belonging to others as their own lands, are just a few of the problems experienced in this process.

This project aims to reflect in detail the evacuation of villages from the 1990s to the present and the following events that occurred, and to reveal the human rights violations in all its dimensions. It is also of great importance for the national and international public opinion to record this whole series of social problems, away from the official historical discourses, directly from the people who have experienced this painful historical regression locally.

Photos by Cemal İşnas

Cemal İşnas

Born in Van in 1997, Cemal İşnas completed his primary and secondary education at Hilmi Irak Primary School and his high school education at Van Edremit High School. He graduated from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, Vocational School of Health Services, Radiotherapy Department in two years. He still continues his education at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Cinema and Television.

This page is published on 19 January 2023.