Turkish state attacks Kurdish freedom fighters

First, it was Winston Churchill in 1924, then it was Saddam Hussein in 1988, and most recently it has been Turkey in 2006 that used chemical weapons on the Kurdish people. Unlike Saddam Hussein, the Turkish Republic has yet to be punished and has not been condemned by the West for possessing ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ or using them against Kurdish freedom fighters.

The Turkish army staged an operation against the Kurdish guerrillas in Northern Kurdistan between 24 and 26 March 2006. On the last day of the operation 14 guerrillas were massacred with chemical weapons after the army had failed to eliminate them using conventional weapons. This has in fact been the pattern since 1992: the Turkish army has intermittently utilised chemical weapons against members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) when it fails to stop their advance by conventional methods.

In an attempt to cover up this atrocity, the Turkish state approved legislation overnight that enabled the army to bury the guerrillas in the rural spot where they were killed. However, six of them were citizens of Syria, Iran and Iraq, and their bodies were not handed over to the guerrillas’ families in order to ensure that they were not subjected to an independent post-mortem in another country. This was all done by the pro-Islamic government even though Islamic traditions and rules order otherwise.

Kurdish youth were not prepared to put up with yet another crime against humanity, and Serhildan (uprising) took place across Kurdistan, especially in Amed where over 100,000 people chanted slogans in support of their martyrs and their leader Abdullah Ocalan.

A total of 16 people, including four small boys and one journalist, were shot dead when security forces opened fire and used tear gas to disperse the crowds, who attacked the police with Molotov cocktails, set fire to banks and vandalised public buildings and shops.

As a consequence of this uprising, more than 500 people were injured and more than 1,000 people gaoled. Eighty minors aged between 12 and 18 were among those arrested and charged by the state. They face prison sentences of up to 24 years.

In response to these developments, the Turkish army has deployed 240,000 troops in Kurdistan in order to prevent PKK guerrillas entering Turkey from Iraqi Kurdistan. On top of this Iran and Turkey are jointly attacking the guerrillas from either side by bombing their camps in Southern Kurdistan.

Piro Gabar

FRFI 191 June / July 2006


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