Peace in Kurdistan stands in solidarity with the people of South Kurdistan and the Kurdish resistance battling against the forces of the Turkish State.
We call on the UK Foreign Secretary to put pressure on the Turkish State to end its illegal invasion of South Kurdistan (Iraq).
The invasion, code named Operation Claw Lightning, began on 24 April 2021, 106 years to the day since the start of the Armenian genocide in which 1.5 million people were killed. The message is clear: this is a genocidal assault on the Kurdish people, a people who have faced a century of massacres, forced assimilation and widespread human rights violations at the hands of the Turkish State.
More than 2000 members of fundamentalist militias have been co-opted by the Turkish army. Many of them are being housed in areas from which Kurdish residents have been forcibly displaced. Agricultural land is being destroyed, the local people driven out and their homes assigned to Arab militias, including members of ISIS.
Fierce fighting continues across the Metina, Zap and Avashin regions of Duhok, with the Kurdish guerrilla resisting the illegal invasion. Turkish forces have bombed civilian areas including the United Nations administered Makhmour Refugee camp, which is home to 12,000 people. Three people were killed in the camp, without comment or condemnation from the international community. There have also been ongoing credible reports of the use of white phosphorus against Kurdish forces. The complete silence of global powers in response to these atrocities from NATO, the UN, and from European governments, suggests international complicity in these assaults which allows Turkey to continue with impunity and encourages it to commit further international crimes.
An international delegation of more than 100 human rights advocates, journalists, academics, members of parliaments, political activists, ecologists, and feminists from all over Europe have gathered in Erbil in order to take a stand to defend the Kurdish people of Iraq. The delegation stated:
The current armed resistance in Zap, Avashin and Metina has turned Kurdistan into a stronghold of defiance, not just for the Kurds, but for all the people in the wider region threatened by Turkish neo-Ottoman expansionism. To this end, Turkish President Erdoğan has made no secret of his ambition to restore the lost glory of the Ottoman Empire by reconquering its former territory.
As such, parallel to Turkish military campaigns against the Kurds in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, Erdoğan has meddled in various conflict areas, including Libya, Artsakh/Azerbaijan, Yemen, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, and Lebanon. Connected to this are his threats against many nations, such as Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and France.
The delegation went on to say:
Erdoğan is well aware of Turkey’s unique geopolitical position and exploits it to his advantage. He knows that his military, the second largest in NATO, is a formidable force and bulwark for the ‘West’. So, the Turkish state, under his rule, continues to openly and systematically defy international law and violate human rights conventions. Turkey continuously violates the sovereignty of many countries. Meanwhile, NATO, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe all respond with deafening silence.
Various members of the delegation were either prevented from travelling by the German Government or were detained and deported by authorities in Erbil. We condemn these authoritarian measures. The full statement of the delegation can be found here.
The delegation concluded with the announcement of the international initiative “DEFEND KURDISTAN against the Turkish occupation!” The initiative calls for an end to Erdogan’s expansionist agenda, condemns the international community’s complicity in the genocide of the Kurdish people, and demands that Kurdistan be a region free from occupation.
Peace in Kurdistan stands in solidarity with the international delegation and in full support of the international initiative “DEFEND KURDISTAN against the Turkish occupation!” and its demands. We condemn this latest assault on Iraqi sovereignty and the genocidal attempt to ethnically cleanse South Kurdistan of its Kurdish people. We call on the international community to abandon its barbaric geo-political stance and adopt an ethical, human approach. This immoral war brutalises all that it touches. It is repugnant for the United Kingdom to stand by while its NATO ally and trading partner commits crimes against humanity. It is time for the UK to stand up and do what it always claims to do, to support a rules-based international community, bolstered by human rights and good governance. Its current hypocrisy is a travesty of all the principles it claims to hold dear.
Statement, 16 June 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, 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, 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.