Online event co-sponsored by Centre for Kurdish Progress, Peace in Kurdistan, The Coalition Against Chemical Weapons in Kurdistan, and General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU)
When: Wednesday 22 June 2022
Please use these links to register for the event:
and to the Zoom meeting
Chaired by Stephen Smellie the Depute Convenor of UNISON Scotland and co-chair of Scottish Solidarity for Kurdistan
- Kate Hudson – General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
- Paul Maskey – Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast
- Doug Nicholls – General Secretary of General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU)
- Steve Sweeney – International Editor, The Morning Star
- Chris Stephens – SNP MP
- Adem Uzun – Kurdish peace activist and member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)
BRITISH journalist Steve Sweeney is launching his exclusive on the ground report into Turkey’s war crimes in Iraqi Kurdistan which has seen the alleged use of chemical weapons on both guerrilla fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and civilians.
He documented details of Turkey’s actions over a two year period, living in and among the PKK and its supporters in the mountains and the city gaining exclusive access to the region under attack and speaking to Kurdish civilians in the affected areas.
Slemani was Steve’s home from late 2020 until recently and he has worked with NGOs, political parties, journalists, security officials and met and debated with lawmakers and officials from the Gorran movement, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, including during a visit to the regional parliament in Erbil.
As a journalist he has had dealings with the United Nations, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and elected officials in Westminster. All have been found wanting, with Steve highlighting what he believes are clear indications of collusion and in some cases corruption at the highest levels.
In March Steve headed a delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a fact-finding mission, although their efforts were frustrated and permission to enter the affected area was denied. This is part of an ongoing pattern as regional forces engage in a cover-up.
With local journalists and media seriously restricted and those that criticise the government and jailed, tortured and even killed, it is more difficult than ever to get to the truth. Steve is believed to be the only western journalist to have entered the so-called red zone which is under Turkish occupation and met those affected.
This report highlights the extent of Turkey’s military occupation but locates it in the broader context of imperialism as part of NATO and the US bid for regional hegemony and plunder of the region’s natural resources. Kurds stand in the way of this and the Ukraine conflict and bid to block Russian oil supplies has given additional impetus to the dirty war.
With Turkey now threatening an imminent invasion of Manbij and Tal Rifat in northern Syria, which appears to have been given the green light by NATO and imperialist powers, Steve argues the response requires a new approach and the building of a mass solidarity movement instead of reliance on liberal academics and individuals, and a break with the United States.
Steve Sweeney is the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper and author of the forthcoming book Bashur: Kurdish Resistance Movements in Iraqi Kurdistan. He has documented Turkey’s expanding military occupation and war crimes in Kurdistan over a two year period. Steve is the only western journalist to have entered the areas under Turkish bombardment, meeting with villagers, medics and those affected by the alleged use of chemical weapons. He has also spent time in Makhmour, Qandil and Shengal and has met with regional political leaders, NGOs, journalists and security forces
Stephen Smellie the Depute Convenor of UNISON Scotland and co-chair of Scottish Solidarity for Kurdistan
Adem Uzun Kurdish peace activist and member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)