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Kurds call on trade unionists to take action to stop Turkey's war in Iraqi Kurdistan

KURDISH officials appealed to trade unionists and progressives to stop Turkish war crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan today as Ankara’s forces were accused of using chemical weapons once more.

“The British government has not only turned a blind eye to this invasion, but has also supported it by supporting [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s regime and his Kurdish collaborators,” a Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) spokesman told the Morning Star. 

“The Kurds are under immediate threat of invasion and genocide. We call on the British public and trade unions to press the British government to stop backing Erdogan,” he said.

Turkey has been accused of more than 300 chemical attacks since April 2021, with local politicians telling the Morning Star that world bodies are simply ignoring letters and appeals for action.

Guerilla fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been subjected to attacks by “chemical weapons and poisonous gases,” the spokesman said. 

“Erdogan is committing war crimes in Kurdistan,” the KNK spoeksman said, saying that it was time for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to act. 

Turkey’s latest invasion — codenamed Operation Claw Lock — was launched on April 17. 

Jets pummelled the Avashin, Metina and Zap mountains targeting civilians and guerilla positions while commandos entered the area from the ground. 

According to PKK sources, at least six Turkish soldiers have been killed since the military incursion began. 

“The resistance against the latest military operation of the colonial Turkish state has been continuing uninterruptedly with effective countermoves,” a PKK statement said today.

All regional parties have condemned Turkey’s illegal invasion with the exception of the Kurdistan Democratic Party which is accused of collusion with Turkish forces. 

The operation was launched days after a meeting between Kurdish regional Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and Mr Erdogan in Istanbul. 

The visit was followed by a trip to London where angry protesters pelted him with eggs. Mr Barzani met with PM Boris Johnson to discuss the supply of oil to Europe and bilateral trade and security agreements. 

While there has generally been a blanket silence on the actions of Nato’s second-largest army, German Defence Minister Anna Baerbock supported Turkey’s actions earlier this week. 

The Green Party lawmaker was responding to a question from the far-right Alternative for Germany on Wednesday when she invoked the “legitimate defence” clause contained in article 5 of Nato’s founding document.

“We must look at Turkey’s motives for these military operations. Turkey has the right to defend itself, and of course, the civilian population should not be targeted. 

“We do not have any concrete evidence that civilians are being harmed during this military operation,” she said. 

But nearly 2,000 people have been driven from their homes in the last year as Turkey targets Kurdish villages.

Missiles have also struck a UN-administered refugee camp and a Yazidi hospital, killing four health workers.

According to Turkish officials the armed forces plan to take control of PKK bases in the Qandil mountains and maintain a permanent presence there to crush the Kurdish resistance group.

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