Security Zones in the South-East
In November 2002 the Rule of Emergency (known as OHAL) was lifted in the last remaining provinces of Tunceli and Hakkari. On 6 June 2007 the General Staff declared four areas as temporary securtiy zones (geçici güvenlik bölgesi). The media in Turkey reported that these areas were part of the provinces Siirt, Şırnak and Hakkari.
The ban on entry to the security zones was (just like emergency legislation) prolonged for three months each. In March 2008 the number of security zones was increased to six areas. On 11 September 2008 the General Staff announced that the number of security zones had reached nine (9).
Which places are meant?
The media in and outside Turkey does not offer an easy answer to the question. When the number of zones increased to four some papers said that the province Mardin was also concerned (besides Siirt, Şırnak and Hakkari) Other sources stated that Siverek district in Urfa Province had been included in the areas of security zones. The reports in the media mostly referred to coordinates of the zones provided on the Internet platform of the Turkish Armed Forces. The DTFDemocratic Turkey Forum was unable to find any sources to spell out the exact location of the security zones.
Outdated security zones
From the messages on the pages of the Turkish Armed Forces it appears that some security zones were indeed only temporary. The areas in Siverek district of Urfa province and in Mazıdağı district of Mardin province were closed in order to hold shooting exercises. These areas should not be mixed up with the other zones since the bans on entering such areas did not last for three months.
From six to nine zones
A comparison between six zones that were announced in March 2008 and nine zones that were announced in September one can see that zone 1 has become more sophisticated (more coordinates) and probably grown in size, but all six zones that existed since March 2008 as security zones were maintained and another three zones were added.
Visualisation using GoogleEarth
Using GoogleEarth it is possible to make the zones visible. You can click on each image to enlarge.
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Problems: In some cases the coordinates seem to be incorrect. Even without enlarging the picture you can see that the security zone 8 has a somehow funny shape. If you enlarge security zone 7 you can see that the coordinates 6 and 12 are far outside the area. It seemed illogical to include them.
Looking at it from a broader perspective
Some of the images show names of villages, districts or provincial capitals, but not always the location becomes obvious. With two pictures we have tried to show all security zones in broader environment.
Actually zone 5 and 6 include part of Hakkari province.
To be even more precise large parts of the security zones are not in Turkey, but in the neighbouring countries. More than half of security zone 1 is in Syria. Security zone 5 runs over Iraqi soil, while security zone 6 is almost completely on Iraqi territory. The same is true for security zone 3, while security zone 7 is partly on Iraqi soil, but most of security zone 8 is not on Turkish territory.
Since June 2009 security zone 10 exists. It is situated in Aricak district (Elazig province), but closer to Dicle district (Diyarbakir province). One major road (Elazig to Diyarbakir) passes through this zone.
It appears that the security zones announced since June 2007 also cover large space in foreign countries. One of them is occupied by the USA. However, protests have not become public. As far as areas in Turkey are concerned they usually run along the border. For them the administration in Şırnak and Hakkari province is responsible. Only in security zone 4 and 5 major roads are concerned. It would be a separate work to look for the affected villages (and, of course, whether they have not been destroyed).
- Note: If you want to test the results you can download the files created in the process and change the maps to your convenience.