Yeni Ozgur Politika interviewed peace delegates from the Defend Kurdistan Initiative who had travelled to Iraqi Kurdistan to protest against Turkey’s military operations in the region since 23 April. The peace delegates had flown to Iraqi Kurdistan to call for an end to Turkey’s military operations and war there, and to also report and monitor the impacts of these military operations on the people and environment, but had found themselves deported on arrival by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
Stier: ‘We came as guests and were detained like criminals’
The Green Party/Basta Party Secretary, journalist Franziska Stier, is one of the members of the delegation. She was a member of the peace delegation that had flown from Switzerland to Iraqi Kurdistan only to find herself, alongside her colleagues, deported at Duhok airport.
“We went to Erbil with a peaceful intention to stop the massacre of Kurds and prevent a war between Kurds,” said Stier. “We came as guests and were detained like criminals. Freedom of the press and the will to engage in dialogue were prevented. This is not just a personal matter that concerns me. This is an incredible tragedy for the Kurdish people and all other ethnic groups affected by this war,” she said.
She stated that if a civil war does take place between Kurds, this will end with neo-Ottoman rule of the region. “If the Kurdish people are divided, it will lead to Kurds being put under the knife of an autocrat. It would be sacrificing Kurds’ right to self-determination to the dreams of a neo-Ottoman dictator.”
Schnebli: ‘The war in Southern Kurdistan is not a forgotten war’
Tobias Schnebli, a former Council member of the Geneva municipality, stated that after he was deported, it made him more motivated to get involved in solidarity with the Kurdish people.
“Now I am more motivated to work in solidarity with the Kurdish people. The war in Southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan is not a ‘forgotten’ war, but a war that the Turkish government and its aides want to hide. As a political activist fighting for freedom, justice, and democracy, I see it as my duty to be more involved in this situation,” he stated.
Raúl Zibechi: ‘The Kurdish resistance’ is ‘a light that illuminates us all’
Several human rights defenders, academics and activists from around the world, including Raúl Zibechi, a Uruguayan researcher, professor and journalist who has written several books on Latin American social movements, have extended their support to the “Kurdish resistance” and the Defend Kurdistan Initiative.
Zibechi described why he signed the declaration demanding an end to the military attack against Southern Kurdistan: “My aim is very simple. Despite the oppression, death and imprisonment of their leaders, the struggle is of an honourable and resistance oriented people capable of putting a limit on the terror of the Turkish state and showing this to the world. I support their resistance.”
“The Kurdish resistance is an important reference right now, it is a light that illuminates us all over the world,” said Zibechi. “A light that enlightens us all over the world. That’s why I find it important to make these small gestures of solidarity.”
Schamberger: ‘I support the Defend Kurdistan Initiative’
Munich Left Party Bundestag member Kerem Schamberger, who also signed the declaration, drew attention to the ongoing economic relations between Germany and Turkey and Germany’s continued sale of weapons to Turkey. He defined this relationship as a ‘brotherhood in arms.’
“I support the Defend Kurdistan Initiative, which is an international initiative to condemn the Turkish-German brotherhood in arms. Germany even blocks the peace delegation that aims to share the truth about the war with the public. The imposition of a deportation ban is an Erdoğan mentality and a result of Turkish-German friendship.”