Operation Claw-Eagle – Turkey bombs refugee camps in Iraq

Operation Claw-Eagle – The Turkish military is again targetting Kurdish communities outside its borders, bombing Kurdish refugees and Yazidi victims of genocide in Iraq. The Freedom for Ocalan campaign condemns this unprovoked aggression and calls on the international community to take all necessary steps to end these current attacks and respect the sovereignty of Iraq.

Operation Claw-Eagle targets refugees

On Monday, June 15, just after midnight, air raids targetted the Makhmur Refugee Camp, whose inhabitants fled Turkish persecution in the 1990s and the Shengal (Sinjar) region whose majority Yazidi population are still recovering from their attempted genocide at the hands of ISIS. The Kurds and their allies in the region have experienced continuous and genocidal aggression, and yet again, the Turkish state is violating sovereign air-space and targetting civilians. Kurdish and Yazidi self-determination are seen as existential threats to the Turkish regime. Through the complicit silence of the international community, Erdogan is again committing war crimes with impunity under the auspices of Operation Claw-Eagle.

The Freedom for Ocalan campaign was able to hear from representatives of the attacked communities at a press conference convened by the Kurdish Centre for Public Relations and chaired by Dilar Dirik. A full recording is available on YouTube.

The efforts to destroy our culture by Turkey constitutes a genocide against the Kurdish people

On 14 July, we again witnessed in front of the whole world, the Turkish airforce targetting refugees.

One of the reasons why we had to leave Turkey and become refugees was the destruction of our villages and the attempt to destroy our very identities and the repression from Turkey. The efforts to destroy our culture by Turkey constitutes a genocide against the Kurdish people.

There is one crime that we have committed; we wanted to be like all nations on the earth and have equal rights, and we wouldn’t accept the atrocities of the Turkish state. We resisted, and we became refugees so we could conduct life with honour.

Currently, we are residing in a small town called Makhmur near Erbil – we are recognised as refugees under the protection fo the UN and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The atrocities of the Turkish government have never stopped over the last 26 years and, the latest attacks show their intent to continue these atrocities.

The silence of the UN and the international community is opening the door for Turkish attacks, this makes us worry about the future for our children – the attacks can come at any time, and we are fearful for our children’s safety.

We are asking the Western world, why do you remain silent in the face of such injustice and violations of human rights? Even Iraq says nothing despite the attacks violating their sovereignty – why?

We want to inform you about our living conditions. We have suffered attacks from Daesh and then the airstrikes of the Turkish government, and there has been an embargo on the camps from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – people are suffering from lack of access to the fundamental basics for living.

The embargo imposed by the KRG, means the population of the camp are denied their rightful access to healthcare, education and employment.

Under these circumstances; Coronavirus in the area, the increase in attacks from Daesh and Turkish airforce and the embargo, we are suffering. We call on the international community to raise their voices.

The inaction in the face of such incidents has meant violence from ISIS, and their chief supporter Erdogan is on the increase. We have been living peacefully – we ave never violated any Iraqi laws, but Baghdad and the international community have abandoned us.

We don’t need any more rhetoric, we expect and need concrete steps, and so we want to thank all those around the world who took to the streets to protest this. We want to thank them for their solidarity.

We are very well aware that the only power that can bring an end to these attacks is international solidarity from democratic communities around the world.

Cicek Cengiz and Hacı Kaçan, Co-Chairs of the people’s council of the Makhmur refugee camp

Map Data copyright 2020 Google
Map data ©2020 Google

Don’t be silent in the face of these atrocities

The Shengal region became a target for the gangs of ISIS in 2014. The Islamic State subsequently kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and girls.

When the Iraqi government abandoned us, the People’s Defence Forces (YPG/YPJ) came to our aid; they helped us, they fought against ISIS, and hundreds of them fell while protecting the families of Shengal.

Through joining with the young population, they established the Shengal resistance forces and the women’s resistance forces of Shengal, and they defended the city, they shed blood for every inch of land to protect the people.

After the liberation on Shengal, they withdrew forces from the region.

They withdrew their forces to prevent the Turkish government using this as a pretext to attack; to prevent the Turkish government attacking the people of Shengal.

The Turkish government continues to fail to break the will of the Yazidis even though they continually target us.

In 1915 on this day the Turkish government attacked our holy ground in Northern Iraq, it was the anniversary of this attack.

As the Yazidi community, we urge the Iraqi government to do their job and fulfil their responsibilities, don’t be silent in the face of these atrocities.

On behalf of the autonomous council of Shengal, we salute and thank you.

Xezal Reşo and Hesu Ibrahim, Co-Chairs of the democratic autonomous self-administration of the Sinjar region

Ocalan must be free

Operation claw-eagle is yet another example of Turkeys continuing war against the Kurdish people. The barbaric aggression against any attempt at self-determination is the context from which the politics of Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish liberation movement emerged.Despite this brutal oppression, Öcalan has repeatedly called for peace and reconciliation so that all in the region can live in liberty free from violence and oppression.

The Freedom for Öcalan campaign condemns this renewed aggression by the Turkish state and in the spirit of international solidarity so movingly invoked by the friends in Makhmur camp calls for Öcalan’s release as the essential first step on the road to peace.