Özsoy: Chemical weapons allegations must be investigated

The footage of the use of chemical weapons in the Turkish attacks on the HPG guerrillas in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) provoked strong reactions, and the issue was also raised in the parliament in Ankara. While Defence Minister Hulusi Akar denied the attack on the grounds that the Turkish Armed Forces do not possess chemical weapons, an investigation was launched against the head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Şebnem Korur Fincancı. The renowned forensic scientist and winner of the 2018 Hessian Peace Prize had stated after viewing the footage that the symptoms shown indicated the use of nerve agents and that the allegation needed to be investigated.

HDP MP Hişyar Özsoy, HDP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, has spoken to ANF about the issue. He said that the issue could only be clarified after an independent delegation investigated the incident.


Özsoy pointed out that the discussion about the use of chemical weapons in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is not new. The region has been at war for six to seven months and civilians from the surrounding villages have been hospitalised because they were exposed to chemical gases. Özsoy said that two delegations so far travelled to the region to investigate this, but were not allowed to do so: “Two different delegations travelled to the region to investigate the situation of people who were reportedly exposed to chemicals. But unfortunately, the Kurdish Regional Government denied the delegations access to the areas. It must be noted that this government itself has already been affected by chemical weapons and experienced the Halabja massacre. Its behaviour is of course unacceptable.”


The HDP MP referred to the “shocking and inhuman pictures” of dying guerrilla fighters and stated that there are serious allegations that cannot be dismissed with the words of the Defence Minister. Özsoy stressed that the only way to prevent discussions on this issue was for an independent delegation to travel to the scene and conduct an investigation. If the government has no concerns about its own statements, then it should clear the way for an independent delegation, he added.


Regarding the agitation against Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Özsoy stated that as a forensic scientist, she is an expert and a doctor who fully adheres to her professional ethics. Özsoy noted that a witch hunt was launched against Fincancı just because she said the incident should be investigated: “Just because she interpreted the footage from a professional point of view and said the matter should be investigated, everyone, starting with President Erdoğan, attacked her and Selahattin Demirtaş, who made a statement on the issue on Twitter.”


Özsoy explained that the opposition, which should have shown itself at such moments, displayed its usual classic etatist status quo attitude, whereas it should have denounced these serious accusations. Referring to the 1937/1938 Dersim massacre, Özsoy said: “An approach such as such a thing cannot exist and therefore did not take place is not correct. In the history of Turkey, people have been killed with gas in caves in Dersim before. This is what the official records of the state say. But while this is the case, voices other than CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who has submitted a parliamentary question on the issue, can make the argument that such a thing cannot happen. Therefore, as Şebnem Korur Fincancı said, an international independent delegation, even an international independent delegation with experts from Turkey, must go there and investigate the matter on the spot. Apart from that, all the words and discussions are aimed at closing this issue and are nothing but demagogy.”


Özsoy recalled that in the past, when the state lost the will to solve the Kurdish question, it resorted to all kinds of violent methods. The statement of Defence Minister Akar “In our culture there is no such thing as torture or punishment” is not convincing, said the HDP MP: “Weren’t Kurdish villages burnt down? Weren’t people killed in the streets? Even corpses were tortured, not to mention the living. There are numerous archives on this subject from the 1990s. Now Hulusi Akar speaks up and says that this and that cannot happen. But this people has a memory. Will it go by the official accounts or by its own memory? We have seen with our own eyes how people were tortured in the middle of their village. It is obvious that when the state loses the will to solve the Kurdish question, it resorts to all kinds of violence. When you block the way for politics, you pave the way for the means of violence. This is as simple as 2+2= 4. Therefore, of course, we have no expectations or hopes for this government. If you really want peace and tranquillity in Turkey, you have to solve the Kurdish question. The conflict has already been going on for 100 years, and if it continues like this, it will go on for another 100 years. The people will be the losers. And those who are in power will find a way to stay in power by using such issues.”

In conclusion, Hişyar Özsoy remarked that the HDP will continue to pursue the issue and has launched a number of initiatives to ensure that chemical weapons use is investigated.

Source: ANF

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