Members of the Kurdish diaspora in Germany and activists from various Kurdish and German organisations have been mobilising their efforts to raise public awareness over Turkey’s alleged use of chemical warfare, as reported by Kurdish fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In Cologne, a group of volunteers led by Kurdish women have started a petition to demand from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that it investigate the claims regarding Turkey’s use of chemical warfare.
On Tuesday, the Cologne protesters pitched tents in front of the Bahnhofplatz and protested against the silence of the German government and EU countries over these concerns. They also handed out flyers and collected signatures to support this initiative, reported ANF.
In Dusseldorf, Kurds for the past two days have been holding a daily ‘anti-nuclear vigil’ outside the state parliament (Landtag) of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to protest against Turkey’s military offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Wearing white radiation protection suits, protesters on Tuesday presented a file they prepared to the state parliament regarding reported chemical attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“Kurds have been waging a struggle and their love for this struggle will never end. Kurds have proven this fact in Kobane, in Rojava Kurdistan, as it was the armed Kurdish forces who fought against ISIS when the world was trembling with fear over ISIS,” Kurdish politician Lezgin Botan said during the protest.
He concluded his speech by stating that “Turkey has used chemical warfare before and they use it again, now, before the eyes of the world. Whilst the European countries stand silent in the face of these attacks, Kurdish people are organising demonstrations wherever they are able to do so, in order to strive to defend their own children. We appeal to the peoples of Europe to act against this genocide.”
The Dusseldorf vigil will be taking place between 1-5 pm every day until Friday, reports ANF.
Kurds and their supporters on Tuesday started a three-day tent vigil outside the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart and announced that the second-day of the vigil would take place in Kobane Square, ANF reports.
Unfurling a banner that read “No to the Turkish invasion in South Kurdistan,” campaigners demonstrated against Turkey’s military offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“In the past year, the Turkish state under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched several military operations within the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. During these offensives, Turkey has used banned weapons and violated international laws. According to the information shared by the press office of the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the Turkish army in the past six months has launched a total of 323 attacks using chemical weapons,” a protester said.
Turkey on 23 April launched a military offensive, dubbed ‘Operation Claw Lightning,’ against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) zones in Zap, Metina and Avashin regions – namely the ‘Medya Defence Zones’ – in Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
The latest operation in Iraqi Kurdistan has arosed considerable controversy and concern in Iraqi Kurdistan andinternationally as the PKK executives and the Kurdish fighters from the HPG and Free Women’s Units (YJA-Star), both military wings of the PKK, have stated on numerous occasions that the Turkish armed forces have been using chemical warfare and various toxic gases.
Based upon these serious claims, supported by footage and images from the Kurdish side of the war, Turkey’s offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan has attracted international criticism as numerous campaigns and petitions have been organised calling upon the OPCW to investigate Turkey’s use of chemical weapons.