PEREGRAF- Farman Sadiq
Turkey launched fresh operations on the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province in April saying they are targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). They have established dozens of military bases and advanced between 15 to 20 kilometers into the Kurdistan Region. Their attacks have also affected the border villages which has led to their evacuation and the injury and death of its residents.
French senator Pierre Laurent, vice-president of the Party of the European Left (PEL) and deputy chair of the parliament's Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces, calls for the prevention of Turkey's occupation, saying "There’s no more time left for talks and NATO countries should punish Turkey for their rocket and drone attacks."
The French senator’s purpose of the visit to Kurdistan Region with the international delegation for peace and freedom of Kurdistan is to "stand against Turkey's latest invasion on southern Kurdistan," he told PEREGRAF in an interview.
Laurent expressed his surprise that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prevented them from going to the United Nations in Erbil to convey their message, wondering "Why didn't they let us go to Amedi and the villages that were evacuated due to the war so that we could show the reality of the situation on the European streets?"
Laurent declared they "don’t want civil war and adversary between the Kurdistan parties" and thinks that Turkey’s current attack is on the PKK, but will "expend their attacks on all Kurds."
The following is the interview PEREGRAF conducted on June 14 with Senator Pierre Laurent.
What is the purpose of your visit to the Kurdistan Region?
As a French senator, the purpose of my visit is to stand against Turkey's latest invasion of southern Kurdistan. Unfortunately, there is a great silence in France and Europe over this invasion. As a senator, I have considered myself a friend of the Kurds for many years. After I return to France I want to convey this message to the French people that Turkey intends to expand its geography at the expense of the land of the Kurds. I want to tell European countries when I return to France: break this silence against the Turkish occupation.
France, along with its Kurdish counterparts liberated much of the [Kurdish] areas in the fight against ISIS (Islamic State), that are now, unfortunately, under Turkey’s control due to its offensive, and I don't want that experience repeated in southern Kurdistan.
People of the Kurdistan Region remember that France played a major role in the 1991 international Security Council resolution 688 for protecting the Kurdish land from the Baath regime. Is it in the delegation's plans, which includes 14 European country members, to put pressure on their countries through NATO or the International Security Council to make a resolution against Turkey to no longer attack the Kurdistan Region?
If we can do that, that’s a great job. There’s no more time left for talks and NATO countries should punish Turkey for their rocket and drone attacks.
There have been many reports in international media that Turkey has been cooperating with ISIS while Turkey is a NATO member and NATO countries have formed an international coalition against ISIS. The question is, why are European countries silent on this?
We know very well that Turkey has helped ISIS. Unfortunately, European countries have kept quiet about this. There are currently important NATO meetings, and we want to raise that issue to NATO and put pressure on Turkey.
We know that Turkey wants to justify its invasions and blindfold European countries, and we want to maintain pressure. It is important for France to lead NATO, prevent Turkey from helping ISIS and its invasive attacks on southern Kurdistan. It is important that NATO countries support France. We have discussed this issue in the French parliament.
As an international delegation for the peace and freedom of Kurdistan, you were able to convey your message? How helpful was the KRG in conveying it?
There are two positive points and a negative point. One of the good points is that the group as a peace group visited southern Kurdistan as a peace delegation, which was their objective, and in the past few days we have held meetings with all the Kurdish parties over the Turkish occupation of southern Kurdistan. The second point is that we have emphasized preventing the breakout of civil war and the parties have agreed on this. But the negative point that I don't understand is why the KRG preventing us from going to the United Nations to deliver the message. Why didn't they let us to go to Amedi and the villages that were evacuated due to the war so that we could show the reality of the situation on the European streets? I hope the KRG cooperates with all Kurdish parties to be unite against the Turkish occupation of southern Kurdistan.
The media shows that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has good ties with Turkey, and the KDP is the ruling force of the KRG. Do you think Turkey has prevented you from delivering peace talks and activism through the KDP because of those ties?
The truth is that there is a lot of pressure on the Kurdish parties by the Turkish state, which has led to our inability to deliver our peace message. We want to make it clear that we are friends with the Kurds, not only Kurds from the south, north or west, and that should be clear to all the Kurdish parties, we consider ourselves friends of all four parts of Kurdistan and we want them to be united among themselves. We don’t want civil war and adversary between the Kurdistan parties, which is a great risk for Kurds, Turkey is working on tearing Kurds apart. It’s true the attack is on the PKK, but we know Turkey well, they will expend their attacks on all Kurds.
You issued a statement in Erbil on Monday, but they wanted to issue it in front of the United Nations. How do you generally see the issuance of this statement?
We have an understanding of the situation here, but we were somehow able to deliver the message here in Erbil. We will for sure openly deliver our message to the public of our countries and governments following our return to Europe, we will hold a press conference and inform our parliaments. What is important in what we are working towards is stopping the Turkish invasion of southern Kurdistan.