Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Prime Minister’s Office
10 Downing Street
Dear Prime Minister
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER ON TURKEY’S AERIAL BOMBING CAMPAIGN ON NORTHEAST SYRIA AND IRAQ
We write in relation to the concerted three-pronged attack against Kurdish people in Syria, Iraq and Iran by Turkish and Iranian forces.
Turkey’s ongoing aerial bombing campaign of Northeast Syria and Iraq, which began on 19th November, is a military action that clearly violates international law. We call on your government to condemn these actions in the clearest possible terms. We urge you to support international efforts to ensure peace in this region and halt the threat of further regional destabilisation.
We draw your attention to the devastating effect the bombing is having on civilian populations in these areas and the knock on effect of yet more waves of mass displacement.
It is appalling to see President Erdogan again instrumentalising the horrific bomb attack in Istanbul on 13th November, using it as a pretext to recommence attacks on majority Kurdish areas.
In the same period Kurds in Iran have suffered a brutal escalating assault by Iranian government forces. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have intensified their attacks on Kurdish-majority cities and towns in the western provinces of the country following protests taken in response to the shocking death in police custody of the Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.
The Republic of Iran has also launched repeated attacks against Iranian Kurds sheltering in Iraq on the pretext that separatist Kurdish groups are fanning the flames of conflict in Iranian Kurdish cities by supporting the protesters.
As you will be aware the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq stated that Iran and Turkey’s renewed attacks and the violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty must be stopped immediately, noting that such violent actions increase the tension in the region and would lead to a tragedy.
It is of great concern that Iran and Turkey are meeting and calling for more cooperation in dealing with those who “make the two countries unsafe.” Both of these countries have a terrible track record going back decades of extreme persecution of their respective Kurdish populations. Silence and inaction by countries such as our own will inevitably embolden the aggressors and result in more civilian loss of life, potentially dragging the whole region back into sustained conflict and triggering a resurgence in ISIS and related militia groups.
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on 29th November: The trend lines are deeply worrying, and carry real dangers of further escalation. Let me warn the Security Council of the scenario where large-scale military operations by one actor then have knock-on effects across all other theatres, unravelling the strategic stalemate that has brought a measure of relative calm for almost three years. Such an escalation would not only compound the devastating harm already meted out to Syrian civilians. It would also further endanger regional stability. And listed terrorist groups, that are subdued but not defeated, would immediately take advantage of any fresh instability.
We call on you as Prime Minister to raise your voice in condemnation of this dangerous acceleration of illegal violence. To appeal to the United Nations and Britain’s NATO partners to act to ensure that their Turkish ally adheres consistently to its international commitments and in full accordance with International Law. We further call on you to use all the influence at your disposal to urgently foster a climate of peace and dialogue in the region, making sure that the voices of Kurdish people are heard and properly represented within that process.
We look forward to your urgent response.
Monday, 12 December 2022
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Maggie Cook, UNISON women activist; Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Adviser; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.