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Village guard in Zuidoost-Turkije. (Foto: Tommaso Protti, met toestemming gebruikt)

GUALYAZI, TURKEY – JULY 06, 2013: A village guard is seen in the village of Gulyazi. Village guards are a paramilitary force set up by the Turkish state in 1985 to fight the PKK. The village guards incorporate more than 50 thousand paid “temporary village guards” and nearly 30 thousand unpaid volunteers carrying registered weapons which makes a total of approximately 90 thousand people. All these armed people are Kurdish. Although the system began as a temporary measure, it has become an integral part of Turkey’s security apparatus and constitutes also a major impediment for displaced people returning to their villages after forced evacuation in the 1980s and 1990s.

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