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PKK accuses Turkey of using tactical nuclear weapons in Iraqi Kurdistan

KURDISTAN Workers Party (PKK) commander Duran Kalkan accused Turkey of using “tactical nuclear weapons” in Iraqi Kurdistan today as he said that lawyers were looking into the claims. 

The outlandish claim was made despite Turkey not being a nuclear weapons state and not having been previously accused of having any nuclear weapons capacity. Turkey is a signatory to the Non-proliferation treaty, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made past references to its right to acquire such weaponry.

No radiation spike associated with a nuclear blast has been reported.

He said members of the Kurdish resistance movement made the claim after they escaped from the Tepe Sor area close to the Iraqi-Turkish border earlier this month. 

Mr Kalkan, who lives in a base deep inside Iraqi Kurdistan’s Qandil mountains, said that Turkish army officials have admitted to using nuclear weapons in the 1990s. 

Retired air force general Erdogan Karakus told the CNN Turk news channel in a broadcast in March: “We [Turkey] have been using tactical nuclear weapons since the 1990s. In the Ukraine war, this weapon is also used. We also have these weapons and we use them.”

According to the PKK official, the broadcast was then interrupted. 

Turkey has been accused of hundreds of chemical attacks in its war and occupation of Iraqi Kurdistan which began in April 2021. 

Credible evidence has been presented for the claims and the Morning Star has met with the victims of the alleged use of banned munitions as well as medics and regional political leaders. 

Ankara has carried out a number of war crimes in its daily bombing of Iraqi Kurdistan which has targeted Kurdish villages, the UN-administered Makhmour refugee camp and a Yazidi hospital. 

Mr Kalkan, who has a $5 million (£4.1m) US bounty on his head, said there has been “absolute silence” over the chemical attacks from world bodies which emboldens Turkey in its dirty war on Kurds. 

Speaking to the Morning Star, Kurdistan Communities Union spokesman Zagros Hiwa said that guerilla fighters had experienced “shockwaves from bomb blasts that do not resemble the blast of conventional bombs.”

“They say, ‘not only the cave, but all the earth was shaking when the bombs exploded.’

“We felt a huge electric shock in our bodies, as if we had touched a high-voltage wire and felt as if our bodies were torn apart,” Mr Hiwa explained.

No concrete evidence has however been presented for the alleged use of tactical nuclear warheads.

Turkey is not included in the list of declared nuclear states, however, there are known to be at least 70 warheads stationed in Incirlik airbase in the south of the country.  

They are held there under the Nato weapons sharing agreement, which allows “non-nuclear” states to host the missiles under the guard of the nuclear power — in this case, the United States.

It is believed that Turkey controls around 40 of the weapons, although it would likely require US permission to use them as they are thought to be protected with Permissive Action Links. 

Republican Peoples Party lawmaker Aytug Atici accused the government of “concealing the existence of B61 tactical nuclear bombs at Incirlik from the public” in December 2016, demanding immediate answers. 

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