Armeno Kurdish Committee Condemns N. Iraq Violence

NASHUA–NH–The Committee for Research in Armeno-Kurdish Relations issued an announcement Tuesday condemning the latest Turkish attacks on Kurdish settlemen’s in Northern Iraq. Below is the complete text of that statement.

On May 14–1997 Turkish military forces–consisting of some 80,000 men armed with tanks–artillery and military personnel carriers–invaded the borders of Northern Iraq under the protection of F-14’s–F-16’s–Cobra and Super Cobra helicopters. The stated purpose was to comply with the alleged request of Masoud Barzani–of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP)–for help in fighting the PKK–Turkey’s outlawed Kurdish Labor Party–which has been waging a war of liberation since 1984.

To date–the human toll of this insurgence–by Turkish government estimates–is 1,400 PKK freedom fighters. There is no accurate numbers for civilian casualties–since independent journalists were not allowed to enter the area–however some sources estimate the number to be 3,000 dead and wounded in the city of Arbil and region of Zab alone. Reports tell of unspeakable atrocities committed by the Turkish forces in implementing their goals–such as killing nine heavily wounded fighters who lay in a hospital for treatment–raping women and extra judicial executions.

This Turkish aggression has destabilized the region. Iran–Syria and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad have mobilized their armed forces to meet the military challenges that lay ahead. Most European countries have condemned this Turkish aggression and demanded immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq–while US has–in the mildest wording possible–requested that the Turkish forces be withdrawn as soon as their task is completed.

Taking the above facts and other factors under consideration–the Committee finds:

1. This Turkish invasion to be a condemnable violation of international law–and the UN Charter;

2. The conduct of the Turkish armed forces–upon the directives of the Turkish government–a blatant violation of Human Rights;

3. This aggression to be a major destabilizing factor in the region which might lead to a regional war;

4. That Turkey’s invasion of another country is in keeping with her behavior and conduct in the region: Turkey is at odds with all her neighbors without exception.

We–therefore:

Call upon the Clinton Administration–for the sake of maintaining law and order–and in serving US interests in the world–to reassess its policies and refrain from–even implicitly–supporting the military adventures of Turkey;

We–further call upon the Clinton Administration to refrain from unnecessarily arming Turkey;

We–further call upon the Administration to prevent Turkey from using American arms in fighting their own citizens–the Kurds.

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