In 2006, according to the census, there were 217 people divded over 32 families living in the remote mountainous Isa Khan, of Maku (a district of the West-Azerbaijan province of Iran, situated near the Turkish border).
The people of this village belong to the Balkhkanlu nomadic tribe. They live in a remote and untouched beautiful and green geography with orchards and trees full of walnuts, apples and cherries.
According to the official reports of the annual census in 2016, the population of this village had reached 169 people. And it is even less today
One villager attributed the main reason for this population decline to the migration of people to the cities, but also mentioned an ugly phenomenon that influenced the decision of many families to leave the area.
He mentioned, for example, the family of Mohammed Effendaki.
Halima Efendaki, daughter of Mohammed Efendaki from Isa Khan, was taken away when she was 15 years old by the PKK teams that use the area to cross the border, both into and out of Turkey. Halima was not the only one to disappear into the armed group, but being such a young girl, and surviving way longer than other recruits, she became an oftent-old story in the region. Sixteen years after her disappearance, and sixteen years of her parents waiting and praying for her safe return, she was reportedly killed in a clash with the Turkish army.
Why a 15-year-old child should be separated from her family, and be separated from them for ages, and suddenly get killed in another country, is the biggest question that local families suffer from.
What was most painful about the story, is that of the members of the Effendaki family, many suffered disabilities that appeared to be genetic and hereditary.
Halima has a sister and a brother with various physical and cognitive disabilities, but Halima, the only healthy child of the family, was hunted down by the PKK. Her siblings suffered tremendously from this.
Disappearances such as Halima’s have occurred many times in the northwestern border areas of Salmas, Maku, Chaldoran and surrounding areas, that share a border with Turkey and where PKK militias travel into and out of the country for their clashes there. Elias Hakimi is another local example of these crimes committed by the PKK.