Roussopoulos calls for international delegation to investigate use of chemical weapons by Turkey

Political activist Dimitrios Roussopoulos calls for the formation of an international delegation to investigate the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish state.

Dimitrios Roussopoulos is a political activist, writer, editor, publisher and public speaker. He lives in Montréal. Since the late 1950s he has been actively involved in peace initiatives, ecology projects and cooperative movements. Since 2001 he has headed the Department of Local Democracy for the City of Montréal. He also takes part in world social forums and supports the establishment of an extra-parliamentary opposition in Canada. In this conversation with ANF, Roussopoulos commented on the silence of international institutions about the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish state.

Why is the United Nations (UN) silent despite evidence of the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds?

In fact, the UN is an organization of politicians from different countries who all act in the interests of their countries. The work on the use of chemical weapons and, above all, on their detection is extremely inadequate. There are very few reports of the use of chemical weapons, and the fact that independent sources are not working on them is a major problem.

Do you think that independent investigative delegations need to be sent to the region immediately, or do you recommend that evidence from the region be brought to the UN laboratories?

The OPCW works as an independent institution; it has around 5,000 employees and a budget of millions. It is a very serious problem that they have not yet carried out their own independent research to prove that chemical weapons are used, for example, by the Turkish army. Therefore, there is no up-to-date report from institutions like the OPCW or any institution in the European Union or the United Nations that shows whether or not chemical weapons are used. That is actually our biggest shortcoming at the moment.

Which measures can be taken internationally against the Turkish state?

A top international delegation should be organized. It should visit the regions we are talking about. After its return, the delegation has to report what it saw and what the people in the region said. This report must be sent to all relevant institutions. Something like this can only be achieved through public pressure. People should organize themselves with this in mind.

Would you want to take part in such a delegation?

I would definitely go. I would like to do that if the necessary conditions are in place, because I have been active in campaigns for nuclear disarmament for many years and I am very sensitive to these issues. I always want war crimes investigated.

In 2003, international powers invaded Iraq under the pretext of chemical weapons. Why don't these powers take even a small step against the Turkish state's use of chemical weapons?

The President of the EU Commission for Human Rights and Security says there is no evidence of the use of chemical weapons. He has recommended Turkey, Syria and Iraq, and also the Kurdish people, to hold talks on a peaceful solution. This clearly shows us how necessary it is to put what has happened in serious reports in order to be able to investigate the situation independently. This is the way to get international discussions going on this issue.