Due to frequent terrorist attacks, the residents of Ulukaya village in eastern Mus province were forced to migrate to find safe havens in other areas. The final nail came when the village was set on fire by PKK terrorists in 1993.
Haunted by PKK terrorists nearly three decades ago, a village in eastern Turkey has now turned into a peaceful abode.
Living in other Turkish cities all these years, residents always dreamed of returning to their homes. Their dreams were realised by the Turkish Armed Forces, who battled against the PKK terror group, to clear the area from terrorists.
Signs of a return to a peaceful life in the village are visible. One can see villagers tilling their fields or raising herds of animals on tracts of land.
The villagers who sought refuge in urban cities to escape from terror have populated their village once again, growing vegetables and fruits in their gardens.
Recalling days when they were forced to migrate from their ancestral homes, village elder Tahsim Tetik remembers when there were attacks leaving behind death and destruction almost every day.
"So far, 25 families have returned to the village centre and 30 other families to the four hamlets around the village. The process of villagers returning to their abode continues. We had martyrs in our village, during the most intense period of terrorism," Tetik told Anadolu Agency.
"We experienced very painful days. But now our country has maintained security and those who returned to the village are farming and growing vegetables and ranching again."
Bilal Erkoca was among the residents who decided to migrate to southern Mersin province. Erkoca and his family are now back in Ulukaya.
"We have all kinds of fruit trees in our village. When we were in Mersin, we had to work as labourers in construction. Also, it was not always possible to find work. Now we have started farming in our own land. Village life is after all amazing,” he said.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.