Protesters call on Turkey to stop alleged use of chemical weapons



DÜSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Thousands demonstrated in the German city of Düsseldorf on Saturday against Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the Kurdish region and the international community’s apparent apathy over it.

Participants started at two different locations before joining under the motto “Stop Chemical Warfare in Kurdistan!” Speakers criticized international governments for not doing more to tackle alleged war crimes that have been denied by Turkey.

Düsseldorf police spokesman Marcel Fiebig told The Associated Press that “several thousand” people took part in the protest organized by Kon-Med, an association of Kurdish groups based in Germany.

Turkish officials last month strongly rejected allegations by Kurdish militants that the Turkish military used chemical weapons against the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq, insisting that the army does not have such weapons.

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These statements did not reassure protesters on Saturday, who criticized Germany’s reluctance to investigate.

“The federal government recently said it sees no way to conduct an international investigation into Turkey’s use of chemical weapons. From our point of view, this is outrageous,” said Kon-Med’s Zübeyde Zümrüt. “The federal government supports the Ankara regime politically, financially and militarily. If the federal government remains inactive in the face of these crimes, we believe that it is jointly responsible for the crimes in Kurdistan.

Turkish police last month arrested Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci, president of the Turkish Medical Association, after calling for an independent investigation into allegations that the Turkish military used chemical weapons against Kurdish militants.

Fincanci, a prominent human rights activist, was arrested for spreading “terrorist propaganda”, according to Ankara’s attorney general’s office.

Turkey has been carrying out a series of military operations in northern Iraq since 2019, saying it is targeting the PKK to prevent it from launching cross-border attacks against Turkey.

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