Statement of International Delegation for Peace and Freedom in Kurdistan

The participants of the #Delegation4Peace have spoken from Hewlêr and made their demands clear: The Turkish military must immediately withdraw from South Kurdistan and the Kurdish forces should enter into a dialogue.

The International Delegation for Peace and Freedom in Kurdistan released a statement on the Kurdistan Regional Government preventing the delegation from establishing dialogues with most political actors in South Kurdistan amid the ongoing Turkish invasion operation.

The statement released on Sunday includes the following:

“We, as a delegation from all over Europe, have come to Kurdistan aiming for peace and freedom. Politicians, academics, human rights activists, syndicalists, journalists, feminists, and ecologists from over 14 countries wanted to get direct impressions of the situation and stand up to end the war and destruction. With 150 people, we wanted to establish a dialogue with the members of parliament of all parties and visit non-governmental organisations in order to contribute to a dialogue between the different Kurdish political actors.

The invasion of the Turkish military is a blatant violation of international law, and is without doubt unacceptable. We are sad to witness that the international community of states remain silent and inactive on this issue, taking no action to insist on Turkey’s compliance with international codes and human rights law.

The Kurdish Regional Government prevented the delegation from establishing dialogues with most political actors in South Kurdistan. Organisations we had planned to visit were intimidated into withdrawing from their meetings with us. A huge part of the delegation couldn’t arrive in Kurdistan. 25 people so far have either been deported, or they are about to be. Furthermore, at least 27 people were held at Düsseldorf airport in Germany and preventing from departing for Kurdistan.

We are outraged by the illegal deportations of our international friends, carried out by the Kurdish Regional Government, and the travel bans on the grounds that these people “appeared to be political” without any clear legal basis. Free media coverage and engagement of civil society are components of every vital democracy, and there is no legitimate reason for this repression we are facing.

In order to support peace, we have spared no pains and been welcomed in South Kurdistan. We have taken trips to see cultural, religious, and historical places and been invited to open a conversation with Baba Șeix, the highest religious representative of the Êzîdî community. In the Êzîdî refugee camp Șarya, which had to suffer from a big fire about a week ago, we spoke to the people that are especially affected by the war, displacement, and destruction. The friendship and hospitality we experienced from people living here warms our hearts, and motivates us even more to work towards our goal. We are here to be in solidarity with the Kurdish people, and with all ethnic and religious groups of Kurdistan.

We are internationalists, and we don’t represent any Kurdish parties or specific political movements. We’re standing against the colonisation of Kurdistan by external states. We are not here to stand against any Kurdish parties. Quite the contrary, we want to support a dialogue between all different views. It is not about a Kurdish problem, but aggression coming from the Turkish state and Turkish military, directed at the local people and the ecosystems of the Kurdish regions. This situation is a trap; creating problems between Kurds, with the worrying potential to escalate into armed conflict, which would endanger peace and the future of the whole Middle East.

It’s our urgent wish to warn all Kurds on this, and call for establishing and continuing dialogues. A political solution must be found and it is necessary to stand together against external threats. Therefore, our demands are:

1. Everyone willing to join the delegation who was rejected, arrested, or deported at one of the airports is to be set free and to be granted permission to join the rest of the delegation.

2. All Kurdish political actors should return to dialogue with each other.

3. We call for all international humanitarian organisations and political institutions to support a peaceful solution. The Turkish state military must immediately withdraw from the whole region.

The Kurds have the mountains, but today they also have friends. All friends of Kurds are being called on to rise, spread the message, and contribute to peace process all doing our fair share in solidarity.”