UK MP Chris Stephens – who represents the Scottish National Party (SNP) – has tabled an Early Day Motion to raise awareness around Turkey’s ongoing invasion in the UK Parliament which was also supported by Jim Shannon from the Democratic Unionist Party.
The motion submitted by Chris Stephens MP of the SNP follows a campaign by the UK’s Kurdish community that has been launched to encourage Kurds and their supporters to write to their MPs, asking them to act over Turkey’s military incursion into northern Iraq.
The motion, which may be debated in parliament reads that the House of Commons “notes and condemns the attacks by Turkish forces on the Metina mountain area in the border area of Duhok in Northern Iraq, that have included jets bombing villages, helicopters dropping ground troops and the terrorising and wounding of Kurdish civilians on the pretext of challenging the PKK, who have called repeatedly for a ceasefire and negotiations for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey;”
The motion also mentions the role of KDP in the offensive as it reads “the Turkish forces are being aided by the armed forces of the KDP, the ruling party in the Kurdistan Regional Government, whose Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan shortly before the invasion was launched, before arriving in London for talks on trade with the government;”
The motion ends by calling on the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK to “urge the Turkish Government to end the invasion and to withdraw troops immediately and seek immediate negotiations with the PKK on a ceasefire and progress towards a peaceful and democratic solution.”
Elif Sarican is co-chair of the UK Kurdish Assembly that launched the campaign to send the UK members of parliament, letters on Turkey’s new military incursion. She said:
“Turkey’s assaults on Iraqi Kurdistan regularly kill and displace civilians, while Turkey uses deadly chemical weapons during its assaults on the region. Turkey’s invasion will further destabilise the region, driving poverty, refugee flight and creating a vacuum where ISIS, pro-Iranian militias and other extremist groups can thrive.
The Kurds have proven themselves the West’s best partners in the fight against ISIS, and are crucial to a peaceful and prosperous future for the region. But this cannot be achieved while Turkey continues bombing and occupying swathes of Kurdistan.”
The UK Kurdish Assembly is the largest representative organisation for hundreds of thousands of Kurds in the UK and describes itself as dedicated to raising awareness about Kurdistan and working towards peace and democracy in the Middle East.
Previous campaigns organised by the Assembly helped ensure that related issues such as political repression in Turkey and the criminalisation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been the subject of formal debates in Westminster such as the one which resulted in an inquiry report on “Kurdish Political Representation and Equality in Turkey” in August last year.
“We need to work together with our partners in Kurdistan, the UK, the US and NATO and establish enduring peace, stability and democracy in the Middle East,” Sarican concluded.