an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, CPT-Iraq explained the
deplorable situation of villagers and internally displaced persons living in
camps whose homes, communities and livelihoods have been destroyed due to
bombings by the Turkish military.
From December 2007 until the institution
of the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, the U.S. military provided
intelligence and opened Iraqi air space to Turkish forces along the northern
border of the Kurdish Regional Governorate for operations against the Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK). Since these
incursions killed or wounded many civilian villagers and displaced thousands
more, the U.S. bears responsibility for having violated international law and
the Fourth Geneva Conventions by participating in military actions that
targeted civilian populations and, as an occupying power at the time, failing
to protect civilians under its control.
Today, the U.S. military continues to supply intelligence for ongoing
First-hand testimonies from villagers and
government officials confirm the destruction of civilian infrastructure such as
homes, schools, bridges, mosques, churches, and hospitals. Turkish bombing has
killed sheep and cows which families depend on for their livelihood.
Kurdish residents experience Turkish military
bases positioned within Iraqi territory, some as far as 18 miles from the
border, as an oppressive occupation. They
say that Turkish soldiers watch their movement, disrupt planting and harvesting,
and attack if there is movement around their villages at night. Iraqi Kurdish officials have asked the Turkish
military to leave the bases but lack enforcement mechanisms.
The formation of a new joint commission of
U.S., Iraqi Central Government and Turkish officials, which seeks to intensify
incursions against the PKK, alarms the Kurdish people even more. Having experienced the Anfal genocide under
Saddam Hussein, they now fear that U.S. support will encourage increased Turkish
The Iraq team asks you to join them in
urging President Obama to:
U.S. policies that aid Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish Iraqi civilian populations
and pressure Turkey to pursue diplomatic and peaceful solutions to disputes
with the PKK.
Turkey to remove its bases, emphasizing that the “illegal Turkish military
presence in Iraqi Kurdistan presents a real threat to the security and
stability of Iraq and an unjustified violation against its sovereignty.” (quote from Iraqi government report on border incursions.)
The Inquiring Committee of the Iraqi
Council of Representatives Concerning the Turkish Aggression recommends that
the international community:
upon the European Parliament and the European Union to halt Turkish efforts to
join the European Union if Turkey continues entering Iraqi territory and
violating human rights in the border areas.
upon international human rights and peace organizations to file a lawsuit
before the European Human Rights Court to condemn Turkish aggression and force
Turkey to end its violations.