Star report on chemical weapons attack on Kurds leads to calls for Turkish parliamentary commission
A MORNING Star report on the use of chemical weapons by Turkey in Iraqi Kurdistan led to calls for the establishment of a special commission of inquiry in the Turkish Parliament today.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Nuran Imir called for independent investigations into the alleged use of chemicals in Turkey’s military offensive —Operation Claw Lightning — which was launched on April 23.
He raised a motion citing the Morning Star report which alleged that chemicals had been used against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerilla fighters on at least three occasions during bombing of the Amedi district, in the mountainous region of Duhok, which borders Turkey.
Today the Morning Star was sent what is claimed to be photographic evidence of chemicals used by Turkish forces in the “Small Cilo” region in the Zagros mountains in a separate incident in May.
Canisters marked in Turkish as ammonium nitrate, a common fertiliser which can be combined with other chemicals to form explosives, were allegedly dropped by Sikorsky helicopters during more than 40 days of Turkish bombing as they try to flush out the PKK.
Guerilla fighter Eris Andok said that Turkey had used explosives in the PKK’s network of tunnels. Investigations were underway to determine what substances were contained in the canisters, he added.
The President of Turkey’s Grand Assemby rejected the proposal to establish a parliamentary commission as “vulgar and hurtful.”
Turkey has a long history of using chemical weapons against Kurds. In the 1930s Sabiha Gokcen, the adopted daughter of former president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, dropped gas on Kurds in Dersim during an uprising.
In February 2018 its forces were suspected of using chlorine gas during Operation Olive Branch, the illegal invasion and occupation of Afrin.
And in October 2019 Turkey was accused of using white phosphorus in an attack on the town of Sere Kaniye in the northern Syrian enclave known as Rojava.
The Morning Star reported from the site of an alleged chemical attack on the UN-administered Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq last year.
The international community has refused to investigate the allegations, leaving Turkey to act with impunity.
Its latest invasion has been widely condemned with Iraq warning Turkey against violations of its sovereignty.
But Ankara has been supported by the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party which has launched a number of raids on PKK bases resulting in fatalities for its peshmerga forces.
Thousands of Kurdish villagers have been forced to flee as Turkey is accused of shipping in thousands of jihadists from Syria to support its operations.