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TROOPS from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among thousands of foreign forces that have been invited to Britain for a Nato war game.
The move has been branded a “disgrace” by campaigners, who say that troops involved in attacks on Kurdish and Yemeni civilians should not receive training in Britain.
Nearly 4,000 service personnel from 14 countries are taking part in the “Joint Warrior” exercise, which will see aircraft, ships and submarines conduct manoeuvres in Scotland and northern England over the next fortnight.
The Nato exercise comes as Turkish troops began bombing the Kurdish stronghold of Rojava in northern Syria on Monday, after US President Donald Trump withdrew US special forces from the region.
British Foreign Minister Andrew Murrison tried to reassure Parliament today that Turkey’s actions would be “modest in scope,” after MPs raised concerns that Kurds were being “stabbed in the back” after a “blatant betrayal.”
Scottish Green MSP John Finnie slammed the Nato exercise, telling the Morning Star: “The willingness of Nato and the MoD to abandon the Kurds while standing shoulder to shoulder with [Turkish president] Erdogan’s thugs is nothing short of reprehensible.”
Rosa Gilbert from Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign also criticised the presence of Turkish troops in Britain.
“Given Turkey’s stated aims to invade, occupy and ethnically cleanse the Rojava region by settling Syrian refugees in an area that has finally found peace after years of Isis terror,” she said, “it is a disgrace that the British military are even considering hosting the Turkish army, and must be opposed by all who want peace and justice.”
She also questioned “what elements of Turkish military expertise will be brought to this joint training exercise,” citing massacres of Kurds by Turkish troops in Cizre in 2015-16 and their collusion with Isis fighters in Afrin.
British-Yemeni lawyer Rehab Jaffer said she was concerned by the presence of Emirati troops on the Nato exercise, given the UAE’s role in the ongoing devastation of Yemen.
She told the Star that Britain appeared “completely unconcerned with their allies violating international humanitarian law.”
However Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster praised the Nato exercise, saying: “A wide spectrum of allies and friends will come together, build understanding and sharpen our collective defence.
“We are stronger and safer together.”
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