An independent investigation into possible violations of the Chemical Weapons
Convention in Northern Iraq is urgently needed
Dr. Josef Savary, Dr. Jan van Aken – IPPNW Switzerland/Germany
The Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar openly acknowledged in the Turkish parliament the use of tear gas during a military operation against the PKK in Northern Iraq. This is an outright violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and should be pursued legally by the international community.
To gather further information about this incident and other information about alleged uses of chemical agents during military operations in Northern Iraq, IPPNW Switzerland & Germany conducted a mission from September 20–27, 2022 to Northern Iraq. In the course of this mission, some indirect evidence for possible violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention was found:
Material found near an area abandoned by the Turkish Army included containers for hydrochloric acid and bleach, which could be used to produce chlorine, a classical chemical warfare agent. At the same site containers for gas masks protecting against chemical weapons were found. A video shows Turkish soldiers preparing an improvised gas pumping device near a cave used by PKK fighters.
While nothing of this is a definitive proof of chemical weapons use, it warrants further independent investigation. We call for an international fact finding mission – for example by OPCW or the UN Secretary General – into the region to once and for all confirm or dispel the allegations of chemical weapons use in the region.