Turkey uses the current geopolitical situation with Russia’s war in Ukraine and Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO in its conflict with Kurds, Progressive International Spokesman Daniel Kopp said during a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan.
Turkey uses the NATO expansion “to buy and to blackmail Europe, NATO and the United States into silence when it comes to the illegal invasion of Kurdistan,” Kopp said in a statement. “As Turkey is internationalising the conflict, we also need to internationalise the resistance.”
Kopp is part of a European peace delegation that has been holding visits in the region since 6 June, to talk with various political actors in the region and document the effects of Turkey’s latest attacks that started in April.
Turkey maintains the operations target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but civilians have suffered greatly in the process.
The delegation has already met with Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Gorran Movement, Autononous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), Democratic Union Party (PYD), Yazidi Freedom and Democracy Party (PADE), and other NGOs and political groups.
The group will be publishing reports after they return to Europe and presenting them to governments and international organisations.
The visit was motivated by four interlinked concerns, Kopp said. “We are concerned for continuous repression of the Kurdish people in North Kurdistan, the illegal invasion of South Kurdistan, the increasing threats of another invasion of Rojava, and for Kurdish solidarity being repressed in Europe.”
The delegation speaks of two demands in their meetings, he continued: That Turkey stops the invasion, and withdraw all troops from Kurdistan.
“We came to speak with organisations of all creeds, to ask them to stand up for the Kurdish people and to condemn the invasion in Iraqi Kurdistan,” he told Medya News in an exclusive interview. “We also ask them to do everything in their power to end the fighting and push Turkey to withdraw.”
Kopp said the Gorran movement in the Kurdistan Regional Parliament believe Turkey’s military operation to be a “clear illegal invasion”. Meanwhile the PUK was “a bit ambiguous about it”, he said. “They did not take a clear position.”
When the delegation spoke with the KDP, the governing party said Turkey’s actions were legitimate self defence against PKK presence in Northern Iraq.
“As an internationalist organisation, we want to push our governments in the Americas, Europe or in NATO, to stop supporting such illegal and violent actions as Turkey has engaged in, and to hold our governments accountable for their silence,” Kopp said.
When the delegation spoke with other parties in the Kurdistan Regional Parliament, the Gorran said they wanted to create a peace committee to facilitate dialogue among varying factions, but the efforts failed. “It turned out to be impossible to create the sort of committee that would be able to speak about peace, security and stability in the region. There seems to be no avenue in parliament to speak on the matter,” Kopp said.
The delegation met with United Nations officials in Erbil (Hewler), and hopes the international body will take action. They will continue to meet with other groups in Sulaimaniyah.