Some 50 members of the European Parliament in an open letter this week expressed their concerns over the alleged use of chemical weapons by Turkey in northern Iraq and called for an independent investigation.
The letter shared on Wednesday also criticised the inaction of the international watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), against claims accusing Turkey of using chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters.
“Not to act in these circumstances could be tantamount to complicity with a war crime,” said the letter, citing several reports from journalists and local civilians as well as videos appearing to show Turkish soldiers putting hoses into tunnels where Kurdish fighters were sheltering,
The European parliamentarians also mentioned the Chemical Weapons Convention, criticising its condition of launching an investigation only after the request of a signatory state. The letter said such a condition undermined the fundamental spirit of the convention, denying its all-important universality, and restricting its ability to create the chemical-weapon-free world that it was established to achieve.
The group of MEPs, representing various groups in the parliament, urged the OPCW to take immediate action to address this matter.
Meanwhile, Xoşnav Ata, a Kurdish man who lost two nieces to the Turkish attacks, continues his protest outside the OPCW headquarters in the Hague, which he has held for three hours every day since August 2022, calling for an investigation into Turkey’s use of chemical weapons against Kurdish guerrillas.
The OPCW responded to Ata’s request by saying they require a request from a member state in order to hold an investigation. However, Ata explained that approximately 50 million Kurdish people lack a nation-state that can act on their behalf.
“When it comes to the Kurds, everyone becomes silent,” Ata says about the OPCW, which is avoiding taking action despite photos and videos sent by campaigners as evidence proving Turkey’s use of chemical weapons.
“I have been seeking justice outside the #OPCW for 265 days, but I have not met with any official, which shows that 193 countries have received instructions from somewhere that the OPCW is a so-called independent organisation. Turkey has been using chemical weapons since 2021,” he said this week.