Kurds demonstrate in The Hague: "OPCW, do your job!"

Kurdish organisations called on the OPCW in The Hague to break its silence and investigate and prevent Turkish chemical weapons use in Kurdistan.

Kurdish associations protested in The Hague against the inaction of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The demonstration called on the OPCW to break its silence and investigate and prevent Turkish chemical weapons use in Kurdistan. The demonstration was led by Xoşnav Ata from Germany, who has been holding a vigil for months demanding that the OPCW investigate the death of his niece Binevş Agal (Gülperin Ata) in May in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq).

The march started on the Malieveld and went past the city hall and the Dutch parliament, where a sit-in was organised during a stop. In front of the Turkish consulate there was a police attack on young demonstrators.


Regarding the international silence on Turkish war crimes in Kurdistan, the co-chair of KONGRA-GEL, Remzi Kartal, said, "Everyone is deaf and mute on this issue." Kartal recalled that human rights defender Şebnem Korur Fincancı, president of the Medical Chamber of Turkey, was imprisoned in Ankara for publicly advocating an investigation into the Turkish army's use of chemical weapons after seeing footage of dying guerrilla fighters. In the same context, nine journalists were arrested in Turkey to silence the Kurdish media. "If you don't use chemical weapons, why do you arrest them?", Kartal asked the Turkish government in his speech.

Addressing the OPCW, Kartal said: "You cannot remain silent in the face of the massacres and the chemical gases used by the Turkish state against the Kurdish people, it is your duty, you have to live up to your responsibility. Will you agree to massacres because the Kurds do not have their own state?" The OPCW's refusal to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in Turkey's invasion of southern Kurdistan is based on its statute, which states that intervention requires a request from a member state. Kartal called on the OPCW to abandon this position and immediately send a delegation to the guerrilla areas to conduct an investigation.


Journalist John Hunt of the British Committee Against Chemical Weapons said he had only one message for the OPCW and all relevant international organisations: "Our message is this: Do your job!" Hunt pointed out that there was sufficient evidence of the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish state and that independent delegations were being prevented from investigating by the KDP in Southern Kurdistan. "The Turkish state is practising terrorism against the Kurdish people. It is attacking the Kurds with terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida. The Kurdish freedom movement is against terrorism, it is a peaceful resistance movement," Hunt said. The massacres of Kurds must stop and those who use chemical weapons must be held accountable, the British journalist added.


Another speaker at the demonstration was Abdulkarim Omar, representative of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). Omar pointed out that the Turkish state was once again seeking genocide in Kurdistan in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne. Addressing the OPCW, he said, "Silence on Turkish war crimes means you accept it. It means you are a partner in the chemical attacks and massacres against the Kurdish people."


The Co-Chair of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK), Ahmet Karamus, stated that the Turkish state is using internationally outlawed chemical and biological weapons against the Kurdish people and said: "The Turkish state is encouraged by the global silence." Karamus called on the international community to live up to its responsibilities: "On behalf of the Kurdish people, we call on the OPCW, the EU, the UN, the WHO and NATO to live up to their duties and responsibilities."


The co-chair of Eastern Kurdistan’s Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), Siyamend Moini, said that Turkey and Iran are committing massacres against the Kurdish people in cooperation. "They are also encouraged by Europe's silence," Moini noted. He said that the Kurdish people have risen up and are resisting "all occupiers and colonialist powers", adding that the campaign of extermination in Kurdistan will never succeed.


Dilşa Osman from the Kurdish Women's Movement in Europe (TJK-E) spoke about the leadership role of women in the liberation struggle in Kurdistan and explained that the slogan "Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" (Woman, Life, Freedom) is now shouted worldwide and unites people.

Speaking for the ADGB alliance, Serpil Arslan pointed out that the Turkish state was using chemical weapons because the Erdogan regime was in decline. The crimes against humanity committed by the Turkish army are an expression of the dead end in which the regime finds itself, she added.