The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has called on international bodies to conduct an effective investigation into allegations by Kurdish militias that Turkey has been using chemical weapons and banned munitions in cross-border operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).
“Turkey has been emboldened by the silence of international institutions and thinks that it has been given a green light to commit such illegal massacres with impunity,” KNK said.
The Brussels-based umbrella organisation accused Turkey of “weaponising its NATO membership” and called on the International Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to take action.
Western actors, including the European Union, United States, United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO), are acting in hypocrisy towards Turkey because of its “geopolitical value to the West”, KNK said.
KNK called for condemnation of Turkey’s “crimes and use of chemical weapons”, an investigation by the OPCW and the WHO, and sanctions against Turkey in case the investigation results in the country being found guilty of war crimes.
In the report, the KNK presented allegations that have been put forth by the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been in conflict with Turkey for some four decades.
Earlier in October, HPG released two videos that showed guerrilla fighters in a state of hysteria and convulsions, and said 17 guerrillas had been killed in chemical weapon attacks.
KNK also cited figures the HPG released, where the group said at least 100 guerrilla fighters had been killed in 2,470 instances of chemical use by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the six months since April.
According to a report by the British newspaper Morning Star that KNK cited, doctors, villagers and soldiers and officials in the KRI have testified on chemical exposure. However, regional authorities have “prevented” analyses of soil, clothing and hair samples, KNK said.
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has also released reports pointing to the necessity of a thorough investigation on the allegations. The group of doctors have been prevented from conducting their own investigations, as IPPNW Germany scientific board member Dr Jan Van Aken told Medya News in an interview.
Head of the Turkish Medical Association Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who has since been arrested on terrorism charges over her comments, said the images warranted an investigation and that the Kurdish regional government and Iraq’s central government had a responsibility to appeal to international bodies for a thorough investigation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Fincancı of “speaking in the language of terrorists”, and said those voicing concerns were “terrorist organisation supporters who blow trumpets of their ideological obsessions”.
KNK’s report can be found here in full.