Yazidi organisations warn against Turkey's planned invasion of Shengal

In an open letter appealing to international politicians, Yazidi organisations call for intervention against Turkey's plans to invade Shengal and warn against a continuation of the genocide against the community.

Yazidi organisations issued an open letter warning against Turkey's planned invasion of the Shengal (Sinjar) region in northern Iraq. "Erdoğan plans occupation - A continuation of the genocide threatens" is the title of an appeal addressed to states, governments, parties and human rights organisations, which was signed by eight Yazidi groups and includes the following:

Şengal/Sinjar and the Yazidi Community in Danger: Erdoğan Plans Occupation—A Continuation of the Genocide Threatens

An open letter to:

- All states worldwide

- All governments internationally

- All political parties at the global level

- All human rights groups and human rights organizations

- All states that officially recognized the genocide of the Yazidis on August 3, 2014

- Representatives of faith and religious communities and various population groups

As representatives of the Yazidi community in Germany, we would like to draw your attention to the urgent situation in Iraq. Almost ten years after the genocide of August 3, 2014, the danger of a continuation of the genocide is more acute and omnipresent than ever. The findings and information we have received in recent days are disturbing and cause us great concern.

Turkey, under its current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, makes no secret of its plans and objectives, particularly in northern Iraq, especially with regard to the Mexmûr refugee camp and the Yazidisettlement area in Şengal/Sinjar. It repeatedly threatens to occupy the region. There is a continuous drone presence of Turkey over the region’s population. According to our latest findings, the situation is threatening to get worse.

The current political context behind this invasion is of great importance. The recent local elections in Turkey have shown that Erdoğan's power is crumbling. The Kurds in particular, through their resistance, have won a significant political victory. As a result, Erdoğan is now trying to compensate for his defeat with a new military offensive against the Kurds in Iraq.

It is alarming to observe how the Iraqi government is giving in to pressure from Turkey. The intensified military operations in areas such as Mexmûr and Şengal/Sinjar show that the government in Baghdad is willing to follow Erdoğan's orders. This willingness is extremely concerning as it jeopardizes Iraq's sovereignty and could pave the way for further instability in the region.

We, the undersigned, call on the government of Iraq to preserve its sovereignty and to not become a pawn of Erdoğan's beleaguered regime, which is struggling with an unstable economy and a collapsing currency. Erdoğan is seeking to turn Iraq's government into a new "Saddam Hussein" regime by inducing them to emulate the brutal dictator to whom many of them fell victim in the past. However, it is vital for Iraq to stand up to Erdoğan's manipulations, as we are all responsible for Mexmûr and Şengal/Sinjar, and Erdoğan will not stop of his own accord. Instead of fulfilling Erdoğan's plans and goals, Iraq should honor the residents of Mexmûr and Şengal/Sinjar who successfully resisted IS. While Erdoğan armed IS and supported its killing of Iraqi citizens and military personnel, it was precisely the residents of the regions that are now under threat who helped prevent the IS Caliphate from spreading across Iraq.

We appeal to the Iraqi parliament and government to refrain from destabilizing Iraq and plunging it into war at Erdoğan's request. We call on all friends of peace, freedom, democracy and universal values such as humanity to raise their voices against this policy of invasion, occupation, and expulsion. We call on NATO, the UN, and the EU to put a stop to Erdoğan's lawlessness and to demand that he abide by international law by ending his expansionist neo-Ottoman invasions in the region. It is in no way acceptable for him to pursue economic or neo-Ottoman goals with the blood of innocent people by invading and occupying their homeland.

Together, we can send a clear signal—a signal of unity and a clear message: there is no place in our worldview for further genocides, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. For the Yazidis, the most affected and threatened religious community, recognition of their genocide is a central concern. The genocide of the Yazidis shapes their lives in every respect, unfortunately mainly in a negative way. It was particularly shocking that IS was able to act without any resistance. Let us not allow Turkey under Erdoğan to act in the same way.

The Yazidis still feel left alone, especially in regional politics, which repeatedly renders them a pawn of political intentions and interests without their consent. They therefore look primarily to the international political stage, but with the awareness that dialogue is essential. Despite their experience of genocide, they are open to talks with the regional and central players in Iraq on an equal footing.

For us as signatories, it is of great importance that the addressees of this open letter take a clear position on Turkey's intentions, plans, and goals.

We demand immediately:

1. An end to Turkey's ongoing attacks on the Şengal/Sinjar region. The continuing attacks on Yazidis must be stopped immediately. Only with peace in the region can people return to their homes, rebuild them, and settle there.

2. International condemnation of attacks on infrastructure and the civilian population. The international community must take decisive action against the attacks and must no longer stand by and watch as the Turkish state strips Kurdish areas of their bases of life through war and occupation.

3. Rapid aid for the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure. There is an urgent need to make the Şengal/Sinjar region habitable again so that the indigenous population can resettle there. Only with an intact infrastructure in place can people from the refugee camps in the region and the diaspora return to their homes.

4. Lobby NATO and the UN Security Council for a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Action must be taken to end Turkey's permanent airstrikes on Şengal/Sinjar, including the creation of a no-fly zone over the region to prevent attacks from the air.

5. No arms deliveries or drone components to Turkey. The supply of weapons and drone components to Turkey must be terminated, as they are being used for attacks that violate international law. Turkey must not be enabled to attack and occupy its neighboring countries.

6. Annulment of the agreement of October 9, 2020. Although the Şengal/Sinjar Autonomous Administration and its political parties have held talks with the Iraqi government over the past nine years and presented various projects to solve the political, administrative, and security problems, the Iraqi government has taken no serious steps. Instead, without taking into account the will of the Yazidi community and under pressure from the Turkish state, the KDP, and international powers, it paved the way for foreign intervention in Şengal/Sinjar and Iraq with the agreement of October 9, 2020. This agreement does not serve the interests of the Yazidi community or the people of Iraq. It must be repealed and replaced by an agreement with the representatives of the self-government of Şengal/Sinjar.

7. Recognition by the international community of the autonomous status of Şengal/Sinjar and the resistance units (YBŞ and YJŞ). The recognition of the autonomy of Şengal/Sinjar and the resistance units is critical for enabling Yazidis to organize and defend themselves. Iraq has a constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of the population groups living in the country. According to Articles 116, 117, 122, and 125 of the current constitution, every ethnic and religious group in Iraq has the right to self-determination and autonomy. Since the genocide of August 3, 2014, the Yazidis have established their own self-government, which must be recognized.

8. Consequences of the recognition of the genocide. The worldwide recognition of these crimes against humanity and war crimes must have definitive consequences. Governments, including the German government, are called upon to take immediate measures to repatriate Islamist perpetrators and their descendants and bring them to justice. It is of the utmost urgency that they are brought before proper courts and judged in accordance with the rule of law. The international community must ensure that an international tribunal, similar to the Nuremberg trials, is set up for all those who cannot be repatriated. In particular, camps such as Al-Hol and Roj in the autonomous region of North and East Syria, Rojava, are home to a large number of radical and highly dangerous Islamists who must be prosecuted under the rule of law. They pose a threat not only to Yazidis and the Middle East but also to Europe and the rest of the world.

Together let us call attention to the situation and to the destruction, as well as to Turkey's intentions and plans in Şengal/Sinjar, in northern Iraq!

Signatory organizations:

● Zentralverband der ÊzîdischenVereine in Deutschland, NAV-YÊKe.V. (Central Association of Yazidi Associations in Germany)

● Dachverband der ÊzîdischenFrauenräte, SMJÊe.V. (Umbrella Organization of Yazidi Women's Councils)

● Partei der Êzîden für Demokratie und Freiheit–PADE Europa-Vertretung (Party of Yazidis for Democracy and Freedom–PADE European Representation)

● Êzîdi Exil Council Sinjar,M.Ş.De.V.(Yazidi Exile Council Sinjar)

● Bündnis der Êzidischen Jugend, HCÊe.V. (Alliance of Yazidi Youth)

● Êzîdisches Zentrum für Kunst und Kultur, NÇÊ e. V. (Yazidi Center for Art and Culture)

● Bündnis der Êzîden Syriens, HÊS e. V.(Alliance of Yazidis of Syria)

● Dachverband der êzîdischen Dorfräte, SMGÊ (Umbrella Organization of Yazidi Village Councils)