The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) condemned Turkey’s attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan with an emergency motion passed at the STUC’s annual conference, held between 25 and 27 April.
Turkey’s Operation Claw-Lock launched on 17 April constitutes “an invasion of a neighbouring state”, the STUC said in a statement, calling on the Turkish government to end the invasion and withdraw its troops immediately.
Turkey’s increased military action in Iraqi Kurdistan in recent years “reinforces fears of a Greater Turkey, to include territory in the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria”, it said.
The union also urged a ceasefire agreement between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and a peaceful democratic solution to the Kurdish issue in the country.
The STUC expressed support for efforts for the de-listing of the PKK as a terrorist organisation. It had passed similar motions last year, condemning Turkey’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Preventing and combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
As the congress passed the resolution, Edinburgh Kurdish Community and friends held a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament against Turkey’s attacks.
Fourteen Scottish members of parliament have signed an Early Day Motion condemning the attacks.
Dundee and Aberdeen Trades Councils, avid supporters of the Kurdish cause, have maintained strong connections between trade unionists in Scotland and in Turkey.
The full statement is as follows:
Turkish attacks in Northern Iraq
Congress notes and condemns the attacks by Turkish forces on the Metina mountain area in the border area of Duhok in Northern Iraq, including jets bombing villages, helicopters dropping ground troops and the wounding of Kurdish civilians. These constitute an invasion of a neighbouring state.
Their pretext is to challenge the PKK, who have called repeatedly for a ceasefire and negotiations for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey and who were in the forefront of the fight against ISIS (whilst the Turkish state was supporting them).
Congress notes that Turkey has increased its military presence in Northern Iraq over recent years and the scale of the current mobilisations reinforces fears of a Greater Turkey, to include territory in the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria.
Congress notes that Turkish forces are being aided by armed forces of the KDP, the ruling party of the Kurdistan Regional Government, whose Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with Turkey’s President Erdogan shortly before the invasion launch, then held trade talks with the UK Government.
Congress calls on the General Council to
1. Write to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs to urge the Government to call on the Turkish Government to end this invasion, to withdraw troops immediately and seek immediate negotiations with the PKK on a ceasefire and progress towards a peaceful and democratic solution.
2. Continue to support the de-listing of the PKK as a terrorist organisation, noting the decision of Belgian courts that they are not a terrorist organisation.
3. Call on affiliates to continue offering solidarity to sister unions in Turkey who continue to be attacked by the Turkish authorities and to raise with them concerns regarding the invasion of Iraq’s Kurdish region.