You will see the power of the Turk - reads graffiti
The military lockdown, curfews and sieges of Kurdish cities in Turkey's southeast (North Kurdistan), apart from death, destruction and displacement, also witnessed the use of racist, sexist and homophobic graffiti as a form of psychological warfare by state forces.
Many social media accounts belonging to state forces operating in the Kurdish region shared images of soldiers and policemen posing in front of graffitied walls, sometimes even in people's bedrooms.
The graffiting also exposed the state's agents mentality, psychology and hatred of Kurds.
Below we share a selection of the most distressing, sickening and 'creative' graffiting by Turkish state forces operating in Kurdish cities and towns since July last year.
A special forces officer makes a 'wolf sign' symbolising the Turkish ultra-nationalist grey wolves in front of graffiti that reads, "Abortion should be free for the whore as we are having to deal her children."
A Turkish special forces soldier proudly stands in front of graffiti that says, "I am going to make you wear a G-string in Spring," referring to warnings by the Kurdish armed movement that clashes would intensify in the spring and summer months as the snow melted in mountainous areas.
This graffiti is pretty explicit. "If you are Turkish be proud, if you are not obey/submit/bow down."
A common slogan "The state is everywhere," decorates this wall as state forces remind Kurds the state under which they are living. "Girls we are here, we got into your caves," reads the graffiti on the right, a sexist remark referring to Kurdish fighters as 'girls' and Kurdistan a 'cave', also a term commonly used by Turkish media and politicians to denote the supposed primitivity of Kurdistan and Kurdish fighters. In the middle there is a Turkish flag.
Interestingly the red graffiti underneath reads, "Long live Socialism" and a sickle and hammer can be seen just underneath the Turkish flag.
A special forces soldier stands in front of a more 'creative' use of graffiti, which uses rhyme in an attempt to demean Kurdish militants. "I bought printed cloth fabric from the bazaar, my dear don't frown, the fashion for dresses is over, we are going to make you wear G-strings," says the graffiti, referring to Kurdish male militants wearing dresses as camouflage. The policeman also adds his signature to the graffiti.
Two special forces policeman menacingly pose in front of graffiti that reads, "Bursa Anti-Terror Unit (TEM)" in red and "We came but you weren't here girls - Gendarme Special Forces (JÖH)" in blue. Bursa is a city dominated by nationalist sentiment in Turkey, interestingly it is mostly special forces from conservative and nationalist cities that graffiti their home towns proudly.
One of the most harrowing images to have emerged from the siege of Yüksekova, Hakkari. A special forces soldier sits on a make-up table in someone's bedroom. "Experiencing love in Yüksekova is different. From Konya, Beysehir," reads the graffiti written with lipstick. The Turkish flag is ever-present and the subtext clear.
This graffiti by the infamous 'Esedullah Team', a clandestine group operating in the Kurdish region and looking exceedingly like jihadists across the border in Syria, says, "Even if our blood is spilled, victory belongs to Islam."
And the most sickening graffiti is this. A special forces soldier, again with the ultra nationalist 'wolf sign,' holds a Turkish flag and stands in front of graffiti that reads, "Love is being experienced in basements (Bodrum) my beauty - Police Special Forces (PÖH)." Bodrum is the name of a popular Turkish holiday resort, but it also means 'basement' or 'cellar' in Turkish. The graffiti refers to the three basements in Cizre where approximately 178 people were shot and burned to death.
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