The mountainous regions of northern Iraq, dotted with small traditional Kurdish villages, have experienced bombing and shelling for the past six years. Turkey and Iran claim that they are acting in self-defense against mountain fighters – the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and the PJAK (Party for Free Life in Kurdistan).
However, the civilian villagers caught in the cross-fire have had to flee their homes to reside in tent camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Their houses, livestock and crops have been devastated in these cross-border attacks.
CPT-Iraq along with several local partners conducted an opinion survey of 500 mostly urban Kurdish civilians concerning these Turkish and Iranian military operations in the rural areas of their semi-autonomous regions.
Released to the media in early December, the survey results highlight the Kurdish people’s dissatisfaction with their Kurdish Regional Governate’s (KRG) response to the cross-border attacks. They feel that Turkey and Iran have broken moral and international law. They think that the KRG should condemn the attacks and engage in peaceful negotiations with or without the help of the United Nations and the rest of the international community.
As the USA beats the drums of war with growing threats against Iran, CPTers in Iraq echo the sentiments of the Kurdish population in calling for peaceful negotiations. “Our reporting on the conflict here should in no way be used to justify military action against Iran,” they say. “We, the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team, oppose all violence – the violence perpetrated against the Kurdish people by the Turkish, Iranian, and Arab nations, as well as the political and economic violence perpetrated by Western nations.”