Pierre Laurent, member of the Communist, Republican, Citizen and Ecologist Parliamentary Group in the French Senate has established a number of contacts in Erbil (Hewlêr) in Iraqi Kurdistan where he has gone as a member of a peace delegation.
Laurent explained that the Delegation for Peace had visited Erbil in response to attacks organised by Turkey on the Kurdish region and to show solidarity. “We want to see the results of the attacks in the region directly for ourselves. We want to do the things we planned with the peace delegation and the people,” he said.
“We are here in response to the silence of the European and French press in the face of these attacks. We came to here to express our solidarity, to demand an end to the attacks, to obtain information to take back to our countries to break the wall of silence in France and the rest of Europe.”
He recalled how the Kurds had been supported in their resistance against ISIS. “Those who applauded the Kurds when they were fighting against ISIS should not now turn their backs on them. They should oppose the attacks of the Turkish state,” he said.
He added: “We must not look the other way while the Turks attack the Kurds. Turkey has the chance in the NATO summit being held today to secure the opportunity to conduct what attacks it wants against the Kurds. Turkey can attack the Kurds as it likes in return for negotiations and compromises. We want to raise awareness about this and express that it should not be this way.”
Laurent said that when he arrived at Doha airport with another French colleague, they were banned from landing on Iraqi soil and transferred on. “I called the French Consulate and got an entry permit from the Minister of the Exterior. But my colleague had to go back. I know that a lot of activists have been unable to come to Erbil on the peace delegation. European countries have worked hard to hinder this delegation, and in my mind this is a scandal.”
Laurent added that they held meetings on Sunday with representatives and MPs of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Gorran Movement and all political parties, particularly those in the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament, no matter what their opinions: “We met with the Minister of the Exterior [yesterday] evening. The Minister of the Exterior met with the delegation on behalf of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP),” he said.
“We met with different political representatives, and we expressed our opinions about the attacks. The peace delegation held meetings with the press association and Iraqi former MP associations for the purposes of solidarity”
He stated that he found it “positive” that the minister came. “It implies that there is dialogue with the delegation,” he said, “But at the same time, the visit of the delegation is high profile, it is also connected to the press agenda here. The Minister did not give us positive replies to the questions we asked but we will continue our work.”
He added: “We will explain the meetings we have planned in a press conference outside the UN office. We wish to show our internationalist solidarity.”
Laurent said that there should be a call from the NATO summit for the attacks on the Kurds to stop, and recalled that if it had not been for the Kurds the Western forces would not have won the fight against ISIS.
He noted that there were certainly hidden agendas behind some meetings, and said he was concerned that NATO would turn a blind eye to Turkey’s attacks against Kurdistan and the Kurds in order to ease relations with Ankara.
He also stressed that the Kurds must not be used as a tool in the interest of Turkey and the NATO forces and relations between them. Turkey and NATO should not choose to make an agreement with a hidden agenda, the French politician noted. “The countries of France, Germany and Europe and the US do not want the Turks to attack the Kurdish people,” he said.
“I call on all who saluted the courage and resistance of the Kurdish fighters that fought against ISIS, do not turn your backs!” he urged the international public to raise solidairty with the Kurds against Turkey’s attacks.
He noted that Kurds had sacrificed their lives in great numbers fighting ISIS, and also that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made dangerous agreements with ISIS. “Today the Turkish state and Erdoğan are attacking the Kurdish people illegally and in violation of international agreements,” he said.
“Kurds are our long-term environment of democracy, justice and freedom. We support the Kurds in their struggle for self-governance and the construction of their future, and we should build solidarity with them. World opinion should oppose Erdoğan’s dark policies and stand by the Kurds.”