The UCL participated in the European delegation to observe the Turkish war crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan.
This delegation is taking place at a time when Erdogan is received at the NATO summit. His formal meeting with Macron does not hide his objective, which is obviously to legitimize his illegal invasion of Iraq, and to obtain from NATO a blank check to continue his military campaign.
His pretext: to eradicate the PKK, a “terrorist organization” according to the Council of Europe’s blacklist.
His strategy: to intimidate European nations, to maintain bombings, military pressure and destruction of crops in Iraqi Kurdistan, to force Mahmoud Barzani’s KDP to collaborate openly with him, against its brothers and sisters in Kurdistan.
At the time of publishing this information, the conference of the delegation has been prevented by the KDP, the hotel where it is held is surrounded by the military, and our comrades have been sent back to France after interrogation by the police of the KDP, traitor to the Kurdish cause.
We, as a delegation from all over Europe, have come to Kurdistan aiming for peace and freedom. Politicians, academics, human rights activists, syndicalists, journalists, feminists and ecologists from over ten countries wanted to get direct impressions of the situation and stand up to end the war and destruction. With 150 persons we wanted to establish a dialogue with the members of parliament of all parties and visit non-governmental organizations in order to contribute to a dialogue between the different Kurdish political actors.
The invasion of the Turkish military violating international laws is without doubt unacceptable. However, we are sadly witnessing that the international community of states remains inactive against this, and does not insist on the compliance with the international codes and human rights.
The Kurdish Regional Government prevented the delegation from establishing dialogues with most political actors in South Kurdistan. Organizations we wanted to visit were intimidated so that they would draw back from their already planned meetings. A huge part of the delegation couldn’t arrive in Kurdistan. 25 people have been deported so far, or are about to be deported. At least 27 people were held at Düsseldorf airport in Germany and banned for their departure.
We are outraged by the illegal deportations of our international friends, which were carried out by the Kurdish Regional Government, and the travel bans on the grounds that these people “appeared to be political” without a clear legal basis. Free media coverage and engagement of civil society are components of every vital democracy and has no reason for repression.
In order to support peace, we have spared no pains and been welcomed in South Kurdistan. We have been provided trips to see cultural, religious and historical places and invited to open a conversation with Baba Șeix, the highest religious representative of the Êzîdî community. In the Êzîdî refugee camp Șarya, which had to suffer from a big fire about a week ago, we spoke to the people that are especially affected by the war, displacement and destruction. The friendship and hospitality we experienced from people living here warm our hearts, and motivate us even more to hold on to our goal. We are here to be in solidarity with the Kurdish people and with all ethnic and religious groups of Kurdistan.
We’re internationalists, and don’t represent any Kurdish parties or specific political movements. We’re standing against the colonization of Kurdistan by the external states. We are not here to stand against any Kurdish parties. Quite the contrary, we want to support a dialogue between all different views. It is not about a Kurdish problem, but aggression coming from the Turkish state and Turkish military directed at the local people and nature of the Kurdish regions. Creating a problem, even an armed conflict, between Kurds out of this is a big trap as well as a danger for the peace and future of the whole Middle East. It’s our urgent wish to warn all Kurds on this, and call for establishing and continuing dialogues. A political solution must be found and it’s necessary to stand together against external threats. Therefore our demands are:
Everyone willing to join the delegation who was rejected, arrested or deported at one of the airports is to be set free and to be granted permission to join the rest of the delegation.
All Kurdish political actors should return to dialogue with each other.
We call for all international humanitarian organizations and political institutions to support a peaceful solution. The Turkish state military must immediately withdraw from the whole region.
The Kurds have the mountains, but today they also have friends. All friends of Kurds are being called on to rise, spread the message and contribute to peace process doing our own share.
International Delegation for Peace and Freedom in Kurdistan