BERLIN – German politicians called on Thursday for an international
investigation into the reported use of chemical weapons by the Turkish
military. The weapons were used against members of the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK), according to the online edition of the German
weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
“Turkey needs to urgently look into these accusations,” said Ruprecht
Polenz, chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee in the Bundestag and a
member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party.
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Polenz recommended an international investigation to examine the deaths
of eight Kurdish activists from the PKK. Claudia Roth, co-chair of the
German Green party, echoed Polenz’s criticisms, seconding his call for
MP Andrej Hunko urged the German Foreign Ministry to file a complaint
against Turkey with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons in The Hague.
A forensic report from Hamburg University Hospital confirmed that the
eight Kurds had been murdered by “the use of chemical substances.”
Turkish Kurdish human rights members delivered photos in March to a
delegation of German politicians, Turkey specialists, and journalists.
The bodies in the photos were severely deformed and torn to pieces; the
photos formed the basis for the forensic report. Hans Baumann, a German
expert on the authenticity of photos, confirmed that photos had not been
The eight Kurdish PKK members were killed last September. The 31 photos,
according to German media, are so disturbing that news organizations
have been reluctant to publish them. The murdered PKK rebels – two women
and six men – range in age from 19 to 33.
The allegation of employing chemical weapons against the Kurdish
minority group could further taint Turkey’s battered human rights
Turkey’s nearly 12 million Kurds are seeking increased rights and
autonomy. Turkey’s armed forces have, according to human rights groups,
brutally suppressed the Kurdish ethnic minority’s attempts to secure
more independence in the southeast. In July, a series of violent clashes
between the Turkish military and Kurdish rebels broke out. The PKK had
previously attacked a Turkish military post, killing eight Turkish
soldiers, prompting a wave of military strikes resulting in the deaths
of 12 Kurds.
Turkey is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The alleged
use of chemical weapons would constitute a violation of the
anti-chemical weapons treaty.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied engaging in chemical and biological
warfare, according to a report in the daily Tageszeitung. The paper noted that German Foreign
Minister Guido Westerwelle had been informed of the chemical weapons
allegations before his trip to Turkey in late July, but has declined to
take diplomatic action.