An international delegation, the Delegation for Peace and Freedom in Kurdistan, has travelled to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Its aims are to demand Turkey’s withdrawal from the region, and to promote dialogue between the Kurdish parties to try to prevent a possible intra-Kurdish conflict there. However, many of the original delegates, made up of more than 150 politicians, activists, academics and journalists, have not even been able to get to Erbil.
At least 27 people were detained at Düsseldorf airport in Germany and forbidden to depart, while 25 more were deported after arrival.
The former mayor of Geneva Remy Pagani was among the delegates who managed to get to Erbil.
In an interview with the ANF, Pagani explained his motivations for joining the delegation.
“I have come here because of the extreme silence in the face of Erdoğan’s gradual stealing of territory. This is not a just conflict, this is expansionism” he said.
The Swiss politican criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his role in the dispute in the eastern Mediterranean. “He is trying to do the same thing on the Mediterranean coast. His actions cannot be justified in the eyes of international law. It is surprising to see how NATO and the European nations are tolerating this.”
He stated that he stands by the law and those who are oppressed. “The law requires Erdoğan to respect the borders agreed upon by the international community. In order for him to be accepted internationally, he needs to withdraw,” he said.
Pagani suggested the Swiss model as an alternative for a solution in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“We use four languages in Switzerland. We have 27 cantons and we are all able to co-exist. It is possible for conflicts to be brought to a resolution in Kurdistan and Iraq,” he said.
“Peoples have the right to decide their own destiny. It requires much effort for everyone to be able to live in peace. I believe justice, democracy, peace and freedom should walk hand in hand.”
Pagani, who served as the mayor of Geneva, has been a member of Geneva City Council for 13 years and been active in trade unionism for 20 years. He is the author of four novels and also a travel diary, following a trip to Colombia.