Andrew Feinstein, director of Shadow World Investigations, a platform formed in 2019 monitoring the global arms trade, corruption and war crimes, spoke to Medya Haber regarding the claims of the use of chemical gases by the Turkish armed forces against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) during the clashes that have been continuing in the Medya Defence Zones in Northern Iraq since April 2021.
Last week a new video was published including footage taken inside tunnels used by Kurdish fighters, and the video footage shows how visibility in the tunnels was reduced to half a metre by a dense green-coloured gas. The video has raised further questions about Turkey’s alleged use of chemical gas.
Feinstein started by stating that the evidence gathered from the region where Turkey has been conducting operations could be used to demonstrate that ammonium nitrate and white phosphorus are being used in the operations.
“Ammonium nitrate along with white phosphorus for instance would be amongst the worst of these chemical weapons,” he began, continuing: “The sorts of wounds that you are talking about, the sort of burning that you are talking about is something that would be fairly common to ammonium nitrate so that chemical weapons are being used.”
Feinstein also said that the colouring of chemical gases makes their identification more difficult and this might sometimes be used by armies as a tactic.
“A green smoke could be a number of things, there are certain types of nitrates that it could be, but there is also the possibility that you can add two chemical agents, you can actually add colouring to them to try and disguise them, so it is not always entirely clear what the poison gas or chemical weapon that is being used is. But there is a possibility obviously that it is amonium nitrate, but it could also be something else that is being disguised with some sort of a green covering”
Feinstein noted that although Turkey is a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), it has violated its agreements many times.
“Turkey has been seen over a number of years of now to violate a whole range of international agreements, it of course is a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. But this is not new for Turkey to be a member of an international body and then to violate the very agreements that govern that international body. ”
He called the international community to take action regarding the claims.
“The time has now come for these international bodies, for the international community to start calling out Turkey, to take diplomatic action against Turkey when it violates international agreements, when it commits war crimes, and the only way to it is going to happen is if more and more of the world citizens to and we personally say this is not acceptable, our governments must take action.”
On 1 October the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) also published an update on the impact of Turkey’s military operation ‘Claw-Lightning’ in Iraqi Kurdistan, with a significant note referring to reports suggesting that chemical weapons or white phosphorus had been used by Turkey in an attack targeting farmland on 4 September.