An international delegation for peace consisting of journalists, feminists, politicians, academics and ecologists from various European countries went to Erbil (Hewlêr) last week.
Whilst fourteen members of the delegation were deported from Iraqi Kurdistan, other peace activists were prevented from leaving in Germany on their way to Erbil.
Despite these obstacles, some members of delegation reached Iraqi Kurdistan to start the initiative against the operations. Announcing the foundation of the Defend Kurdistan Initiative, consisting of 150 peace activists, the delegates have been establishing contacts in Suleymaniyah and Erbil for days.
Kurdish politician Hüseyin Yılmaz, from the Defend Kurdistan initiative, spoke to MA regarding the ongoing discussions in Hewlêr and Suleymaniyah.
“We met with the former Minister of Justice and representatives of different political parties which have groups in the parliament. We had talks with the unions,” he said.
He added that they wanted to visit villages which had been evacuated as a result of Turkey’s military operations. “We applied to the Kurdistan Regional Government officials. We wanted to visit Sinjar (Shengal) and Makhmour (Mexmûr), which are in great danger just now, but our groups were stopped on the way and we were not allowed to go,” he said.
“We wanted to announce to the world the environmental destruction caused by these operations in Kurdistan. This was one of the primary aim of the peace envoys. However, our work was blocked.”
Yılmaz expressed his view that although the Erbil administration stated in bilateral dialogues that they are against Turkey’s settlement and operations in Federal Kurdistan, in practice, they display the opposite attitude.
”We have observed that there is no healthy communication between the institutions, individuals and parties who are responsible and authorised to speak out,” he said.
Stating that the attitude of the Erbil administration towards them is far from being exemplary of the tolerance for which the Kurds are well-known, Yılmaz added, “We were not allowed to contact our people here. To be honest, we felt like we were in a Turkish city.”
The Kurdish politician urged Kurdish civil society organizations and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to act for the benefit of the Kurds.
“The KDP should turn away from this wrong attitude with immediate effect. All parties and institutions of Kurdistan should act in line with the need of the Kurds,” he said.