CPT-IK urges Turkey to end military operations in Iraq

CPT-IK calls on the Government of Turkey to respect civilian lives and put an end to its military operations in the territory of Iraq.

During a press conference on 15 July 2020, Hakan Karacay, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Erbil, in response to a question about the on-going Turkish military operation in Iraqi Kurdistan said: “We have never targeted any civilian people”.

The Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan (CPT-IK), an international human rights organization which has been documenting the impacts of Turkish military operations on civilian lives and livelihoods since 2007, brings attention to the fact that Hakan Karacay’s statement does not correspond with reality.

CPT-IK stated that: “Since the Turkish Air Force’s Operation Claw-Eagle launched on 15 June 2020 followed by the Military Forces incursion Operation Claw-Tiger on 17 June named, at least 6 civilians have been killed and at least 4 civilians wounded. In addition, these military operations have burned agricultural lands, orchards and livestock and threatened the existence of many villages.”

CPT-IK listed the following information on the Turkish attacks that have indeed targeted civilians since June this year:

On 17 June, Turkish airstrike killed Abas Maghdid, 30 years old, in Khnera heights in the sub-district of Sidakan. Abas was a nomadic shepherd. CPT-IK learned of his killing from a trusted partner.

On 19 June, Turkish airstrike killed 5 men who went for a leisure trip to the Balanda valley near Sheladze after work. CPT-IK was able to document names of four of them: Mukhlis Adam, Azad Mahdi, Deman Omar and Ameen Salih.

On 25 June, a Turkish drone bombed a grocery store in a picnic area of Kuna Masi while many families were in the vicinity. The attack severed Peyman Talib’s, a 31-year-old woman, leg from the knee down, broke her second leg in many places and burned both of her arms. Talib’s husband, Keywan Kawa, 30, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were also injured in the attack.

On 10 July, residents of Avla village, Batifa sub-district, Duhok province fled their homes after Turkish forces dropped 26 bombs on the village.

On 11 July, Turkish artillery targeted Bedihe village in Duhok province with six mortars causing damage to 10 households. The artillery has also damaged groves and orchards of locals in the area.

Operations Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger are an extension of a three-decades-long war Turkish military has been waging against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the territory of Kurdistan Region of Iraq. According to CPT-IK’s documentation, since August 2015, Turkish fighter jets, drones, artillery bombardments and gunfire killed at least 85 and wounded more than 95 civilians. Of the 85 fatalities, 15 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2020 alone. The Turkish operations emptied more than one hundred villages and caused a concerning deterioration of safety and economic security of several thousand families.

CPT-IK called on the Government of Turkey to respect civilian lives and put an end to its military operations in the territory of Iraq.