Preservation of Livelihood of Sarikecili Nomads, Turkey
Sarikecililer is one of the oldest nomadic pastoralist groups in Anatolia. They spend the winters in the South of Turkey, in Mersin region, and the summers in the plateaus of Central Anatolia, in Konya-Karaman(Seydisehir) region.
Members of the group are not being allowed to follow their traditional migration route from the southern province of Mersin to the mid-Anatolian province of Konya because their goats are allegedly damaging forestlands they feed on along the route.
However, Sarikecili nomads claim for their right to preserve their way of life, culture and livelihood. They face several pressures such as geographical area restrictions limiting pasture area and state oppression towards their nomadic way of life.
They are both forced to settle down and to pay several penalties due to their use of land for their life style.
In 2004, they founded Sarkecililer Association for Solidarity and Mutual Aid. The head of the association, Pervin Coban Savran (Mother Pervin) increased womens participation in the conflict as well.
They organized events in order to make Sarikecili Nomadic March and their culture more visible.
With the establishment of the association, they began to build a strong network with other EJOs and NGOs. In 2011, they organized and participated in the Big Anatolian March where many EJOs working on water and mining conflicts coming from different regions of Turkey marched to Ankara and realized a big demonstration.
Ministry of Forestry and Water Works, Forestry Management Directorates, the gendarme, the heads of villages
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters
Sarkecililer Association for Solidarity and Mutual Aid (Sarikecilileri Yasatma ve Dayanisma Dernegi), Water Parliament of Turkey (Turkiye Su Meclisi), Association for Nature (Doga Dernegi)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)
MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization begin
In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Local ejos Pastoralists Women
Forms of Mobilization
Development of a network/collective action Involvement of national and international NGOs Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism Media based activism/alternative media Official complaint letters and petitions Public campaigns Street protest/marches Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Visible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
The decrease in pastureland
where Sarikecili people can pasture their herds due to increased urbanization and developmentalist projects
Visible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Loss of income, loss of the living space, oppression to make Sarikecililer settle down, forcing them to pay several penalties (some illegal) due to their use of land because of their nomadic way of life
Pathways for conflict outcome / response
Criminalization of activists Migration/displacement
Development of Alternatives
Sarikecili nomads demand a migration map so that they can migrate by shifting routes, and an agreement with government body about where to camp. They want to be able to graze their livestock without damaging the forests and continue their nomadic life style without pressures.
Do you consider this as a success?
Why? Explain briefly.
Sarikecili nomads built a strong network with other EJOs, especially with the ones against Hydroelectric Power Plants demanding water distribution justice, and participated in the organization of the Big Anatolian March to claim the Rights of Nature in cooperation with other EJOs. They also applied to the UNESCO to ensure the recognition of their culture, livelihood and their way of nomadic life which enabled the acceptance of their existence by the Ministry of Culture and the general public.