Turkey: Demonstration to voice chemical warfare allegations banned, activists detained

Turkey: Demonstration to voice chemical warfare allegations banned, activists detained
Update: 06 November 2022 21:31
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The police has forcibly obstructed the movement of a HDP deputy in wheel-chair, as journalists have been prevented from reporting.

The Turkish police blocked activists who wanted to stage a demonstration in Istanbul on Sunday to call for investigation into allegations of chemical warfare in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Several activists were detained.  

The police said that the demonstration, organized by the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has been banned by the district governor.

The group that gathered in Istiklal street near Taksim square was encircled by the police, and HDP deputy Musa Piroglu who came in a wheelchair to join in the demonstration was forcibly held up by police officers. Piroglu protested by banging on police shields and chanting, "Human dignity will defeat torture."

The journalists who wanted to report were forced out of the area and prevented from taking images.

Earlier in the day, another group were prevented in the Kurdish-city of Silopi from marching towards the Turkish-Iraqi border to call for investigation into the allegations.

There have been many reports in the past two years on allegations that chemical weapons have been used by Turkish forces in the context of military campaigns carried out in KRI. After images of ammunition used and smoke coming out of caves, allegedly in KRI territories, a more recent video showed an alleged victim of chemical warfare.

Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, the chair of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) was arrested and incarcerated after she said in a TV broadcast, upon watching the video, "Apparently, one of the toxic chemical gases was used that directly affects the nervous system."

While the crackdown on calls for investigation has been launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration and is strongly supported by the far right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the opposition in Turkey, except for HDP and a deputy for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), remain silent both on the allegations and the crackdown.