Turkish troops out of Kurdistan!

FRFI 175 October / November 2003

On 4 July, US troops detained some Turkish soldiers in Suleymaniya, a city in northern Iraq, opening a rift between old friends. The US raid targeted a building of the Turkman Front and a nearby Turkish government liaison office. 24 people were arrested, including 11 members of the Turkish Special Forces. US troops beat up the Special Forces soldiers when they tried to talk to them, put plastic bags over their heads, threw them into the street and then onto some trucks. The mighty Turkish army has never been humiliated like this before.

In reprisal for the detentions, Turkey shut the Habur frontier gate, the only crossing between Turkey and Iraq, to lorries carrying supply materials to US troops. It remained open to other traffic, such as lorries carrying United Nations humanitarian aid. The Turkish Special Force was on its way to assassinate the Kurdish Mayor in the oil rich city of Kirkuk and to bomb Iranian and Syrian interests in the region. The aim was to stir up the region as a pretext for sending more troops into south Kurdistan to pursue Turkish interests.

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No extradition to Turkey

On 30 January British police arrested 28-year-old Turkish refugee Onder Dolutas at his home in London, following a request from the Turkish authorities for his extradition. The following day Bow Street Magistrates court released him on conditional bail. FRFI has been participating in the campaign against his extradition; at the first hearing of his case on 14 March over 50 people staged a lively demonstration in solidarity with Onder and opposition to British collaboration with Turkish fascism. The case has now been adjourned for a review on 11 April. The main hearing will take place on 8 May.

Onder was arrested on charges unrelated to any activity in this country. His arrest was carried out by British authorities on the request of the Turkish government. From 1995 to 2000 Onder Dolutas was a student of maritime engineering at the University of Istanbul, where he participated in the democratic activities of the students’ union. He arrived in Britain in May 2001 and was granted refugee status in January 2003.

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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.

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