Kurds and international allies in Europe have been protesting against Turkey’s large scale military operation dubbed Operation Claw-Lock launched over the borders into Iraqi Kurdistan and Northern Syria including also protesting against the violations of international law and war crimes committed as part of the operation.
The operation was launched on 17 April 2022, and while Turkey maintains that its scope is limited to only military targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), reports continue to emerge from NGOs in the area of missile strikes and bombardment of villages and civilians in the area, and of chemical weapons being used against the PKK guerrillas.
This week saw demonstrations against Turkey’s operation in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Göttingen, Winterthur, London Geneva and Athens.
On Wednesday, a large group of protesters started a protest sit-in at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva in protest about the international body’s complete silence on alleged war crimes committed by Turkey. The sit-in continued on Thursday. The group is also gathering signatures for the removal of the PKK from the EU’s list of foreign terrorist organisations.
On Thursday, a group consisting mostly of women in Frankfurt, held a demonstration in chemical protective suits and wearing masks protesting against Turkey’s invasion and alleged use of chemical weapons.
The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) is again calling for an investigation into the chemical weapons use allegations, as is Iceland’s former justice minister Ögmundur Jónasson, a long-time supporter of the Freedom for Öcalan and Peace for Kurdistan initiative.
KNK issued a statement calling for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons.
The KNK says that there are reasons to suspect the use of several toxic substances that target the nervous and respiratory systems. The substances that are suspected of having been used are:
Tabun: The neurotoxin is the oldest of the three so-called G-warfare agents, alongside Soman and Sarin.
Green Cross: The lung warfare agent contains chloropicrin as an active ingredient.
Mustard gas: The skin warfare agent, also known as yellow cross.
Unknown sleeping gas: Another gas used by the Turkish army, with effects including sluggishness, memory loss, and collapse.
Tear gas: Lachrymator agents are substances that irritate the eyes and mucous membranes.
“Despite the evidence and several reports by delegations visiting the area, the OPCW has still not taken any action against the use of these weapons, which has only emboldened Turkey to use them again,” the KNK said.
The OPCW should “take seriously reports from affected areas in southern Kurdistan, immediately send a delegation to the affected areas and carry out on-site investigations, and thus prevent Turkey’s further use of chemical weapons”, it said.