Commentaries #16

Environmental Racism and Resistance in Kurdistan

|by Pınar Dinç, Lund University

|Executive Summary:

Delisting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization would be a bold, imaginative move by Turkey, the European Union (EU), and the United States (US), among others, that might contribute to Environmental degradation is identified as a key factor that threatens the future of life on Earth, but such generalised reading entails that conceal the uneven effects of environmental degradation. When environmental degradation takes place on the lands of the marginalised groups, it is often overlooked or further justified by hegemonic powers that view these areas as natural resources or hideouts for insurgent groups that need to be drained. The embedded prejudice and discrimination against the internal others are often inflamed through the media and followed by the dominant society. This commentary addresses this issue of differential significance attributed to environmental degradation in Kurdistan and discusses how the concept of ecological racism may help uncovering this variance. In doing so, this piece covers the existing literature about conflict and environment nexus in Kurdistan, and suggests ways forward to advance knowledge and work towards political and ecological justice.

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