Erdogan blasts chemical warfare claimants as “leftovers of communism”

Erdogan blasts chemical warfare claimants as “leftovers of communism”
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President Erdogan said the authorities have immediately filed lawsuits over the allegations, adding that they will go after the allegations by filing both criminal and compensation cases

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the claimants accusing Turkish military of using chemical weapons against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Northern Iraq as the “leftovers of communism”.

The authorities have immediately filed lawsuits over the allegations, Erdogan told reporters on his flight back from Azerbaijan on Friday, T24 reported.

“We will definitely not let it go. We will go after them by filing both criminal and compensation cases,” Erdogan said, blaming them of “immorality.”

The video coverages posted on social media, showing PKK militants who were allegedly suffering from chemical weapon attacks, prompted Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) to call on international institutions to investigate the allegations concerning the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish military in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).

"There are serious reports and allegations that Turkey has been using chemical agents in its military operations since 2021 in the territories of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, which according to international law constitutes a war crime, and some images recently published by some media outlets further support such allegations," the Executive Council of HDP said in a statement.

Turkey dismissed the allegations as slander.

“These allegations, which are periodically brought to the agenda by some circles who want to tarnish the fight against terrorism and cast a shadow over the success of the Turkish Armed Forces, are completely baseless and unrealistic," Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“Our armed forces did not have any reluctance to use chemical weapons until today. It has taken all the steps needed within the framework of international law and will continue to do so,” Erdogan said.

Slamming the allegations as “dishonesty” and “immorality”, “This is not the first time they are throwing dirt [on Turkish military], Erdogan said.

Throwing dirt on those they dislike is a common practice of communism and communists, Erdogan said.

“Since these are their leftovers, they will always continue to slander,” he said.

“We will hold them accountable for whatever is required within the law" Erdogan said.

On Thursday, Turkey has launched a probe into Sebnem Korur Fincanci, the head of Turkish Medical Association (TTB) over her remarks regarding the chemical warfare allegations.

"Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gases was used that directly affects the nervous system," Fincanci told Media Haber, sharing her examinations on the basis of the videos she watched on social media.

Last week, Turkish parliament adopted a new law that criminalises the spread of “fake” news online. 

According to the legislation popularly known as the “law on combatting disinformation", those who are deemed to have “publicly disseminated false information regarding national security, public order, or general public health that creates anxiety, fear, or panic among the population or disturbs public peace,” will face prison sentences of between one and three years. 

The controversial law that prompted heavy criticism for creating a censorship mechanism was seen as an intension of Erdogan government to further silence critics before next year’s elections, providing it with new tools to criminalize dissident.

One of the most important concerns over the new legislation surged over the legal definition of false news, as the media and law circles say that in the law, there’s no objective or scientific standards that defines what it deems to be fake or lie, warning that this would lead to arbitrary practices. 

Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor, and a cyber-rights defender told Deutsche Welle (DW) that the incomprehensible nature of the crime included in the law is going to cause difficulties in practice.

"Actually, it is an incomprehensible type of crime on paper. It has been defined rather broadly and is open to being applied arbitrarily. It seems that it will be used frequently in the upcoming election period. We will see that prosecutors start initiating investigations into news with a big impact and into social media content," Akdeniz said.