In the shadow of the Russian war against Ukraine, which is against international law, Turkey launched a major military offensive in northern Iraq against the Kurds living in the region on 17 April 2022. At the same time, attacks against the Kurdish population in northern Syria continue. We reproduce below the press release published on 18 April 2022 by the EUTCC (EU Turkey Civic Commission) on this attack.

From Ukraine to the Middle East – Combating of Violation of International Law Everywhere

Turkey launched another large-scale military offensive in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on the evening of 17 April. Attacks on northern Syria also continue.

Turkey claims that its attacks are directed against the PKK. The occupation of Syrian territory in particular reveals the true character of its expansive foreign policy which in reality is anti-Kurdish. By taking the attention away from the country’s economic decline the AKP-MHP coalition under President Erdoğan try to make up for the population’s growing dissatisfaction with their policy. Erdoğan is trying to distinguish and position himself against the backdrop of geostrategic interests both of his own country and of NATO, Ukraine and Russia.

In the context of the military offensive, reference should also be made to the US human rights report, which states that Turkey accepts the death of civilians in the fight against the PKK.

Criticism from the international community is not to be expected. In the past, too, silence prevailed in the context of the NATO partner’s violence of international law. The maximum reaction was the expression of concern.

The war in Ukraine is both a reminder and a call to outlaw and combat war crimes and violations of international law immediately and everywhere.

We strongly condemn Turkey’s cross-border military offensive. The international community is called upon to take a clear stand on the side of international law in this war as well and to impose appropriate sanctions immediately.

Prof. Dr. Kariane Westrheim EUTCC Chairperson

Dersim Dağdeviren EUTCC Board member

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