Translation: ‘The UN and the Iraqi government are responsible for the attack on Makhmour’

Leyla Arzu Ilhan, member of the Diplomacy Committee of the Ishtar Assembly in Makhmour Refugee Camp (ANHA)

This is a translation of an article first published in Kurdish by Hawar News Agency on June 5, 2020. Find the original article here.

The occupier Turkish state has carried out dozens of air attacks on the Martyr Rustem Cudi (Makhmour) Refugee Camp. The camp was established in 1993 for Kurds from North Kurdistan who fled the Turkish state’s attacks and massacres. It is located near the border of the town of Makhmour in Nineveh governorate, close to Erbil governorate and about 60 kilometers south of Erbil. Today, about 12,000 people live in the camp.

The camp is under the protection of the United Nations. The government of South Kurdistan has imposed an embargo on the camp since July 2019. However, the United Nations has not yet taken a position against this.

Alongside the embargo and siege, on June 2nd, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again threatened the camp, saying that “if the United Nations doesn’t cleanse it, as a member of the United Nations, we will cleanse it ourselves.”

Three days after this threat, Turkish UAVs attacked the camp, at about 1:55 PM local time.

Leyla Arzu Ilhan, a member of the Diplomacy Committee of the Ishtar Assembly [the autonomous women’s assembly that forms part of the camp’s civil administration], said that the UN and the Iraqi government must immediately take a stand against the attacks.

Drawing attention to the embargo on the camp, Ilhan said: “This siege is the outcome of a political decision. It is in line with the agreement between the KDP and Turkey, and with the attempt to invade South Kurdistan as a whole. For 27 years, the occupier Turkish state has always seen the self-organized society of our camp as a threat.”

“We have made many complaints about the embargo on the camp, but the regional government answers, “We have no information about this embargo. This decision came from above, we implement it.” From these statements of theirs, it became apparent that this decision was made by the Turkish state, and the KDP also carries it out.”

Ilhan explained that the targeting of the camp was part of the “Crush Plan” and said: “Just like Efrin, Serekaniye and Gire Spi were invaded and occupied, they want to invade and occupy our camp. This invasion attempt has been legitimized by the KDP. According to information that we have obtained, the KDP has sold Kurdish land to Turkey so that it can exercise its all of its power there.”

The strike hit close to the Şehîd Aryen park, located in the center of the camp. Due to the hot weather in the middle of the day, no one was there. Ilhan said that their camp has been targeted by the Turkish state for years and has been attacked dozens of times. “The United Nations and the government of Iraq are responsible for this attack. It’s necessary for the UN and the Iraqi Government to take a stand against the Turkish state.”

Ilhan explained that the silence of the UN and the Iraqi government encouraged Turkey to attack the camp and stated: “This silence is dangerous. Until now, the UN and the Iraqi government have not raised any opposition to the attacks. This has become a reason why the attacks continue. Their silence makes them complicit in the crimes of the KDP and the Turkish state, who want to destroy the people of the camp with massacres.”

The resistance of the guerrillas against the occupying forces has continued from April 23rd until today. So far, the Turkish state has not achieved success against this resistance. Ilhan said: “When the Turkish state is defeated by the freedom fighters, they immediately begin to plan massacres. Threats against our camp are the outcome of the defeat of the fascist Turkish army in the mountains of Kurdistan. Our camp will continue our struggle, just as we have resisted all attacks and plots for 27 years. Without a doubt, with the support of the Kurdish people, we will destroy the fascist plans against our camp and Kurdistan.”



Researcher following Kurdish politics, Syria, Turkey.

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