ANKAWA, Iraq – The Bethnahrain Patriotic Union (HBA) issued a press statement regarding Turkey’s illegal military operation “Eagle Claw” in northern Iraq. Under the pretext of fighting the PKK, from 16 June, more than 5,000 indigenous Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians from over 30 villages* (see below press statement) in the Iraqi-Turkish border area were displaced because of the military operation. The villages are exclusively or majority Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian in demographic. Turkish forces are establishing military bases in these areas. This will lead to demographic change as most Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian will not return under such conditions.
********** PRESS STATEMENT **********
To the world public opinion
To the UN Representative in Baghdad / Federal Rep. of Iraq
To the neighboring Turkish people
To the oppressed Iraqi people
Unfortunately, and sadly, Iraqis are not unfamiliar with persecution and injustice. And claiming that our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in Iraq, especially those living in the border area with Turkey, have not had their fair share of persecution and injustice would be an understatement.
With the implementation of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, Mesopotamia was divided over three countries at which time the detrimental rulings of new rulers were imposed on us for a hundred years. What followed were forced displacement in the 1960s and uninterrupted grievances – the al-Anfal campaign in 1988, left many dead, caused enduring forcible displacement, and lands and possessions were confiscated.
For more than six years now, northern Iraq has been, on and off, under siege by Turkey. Sometimes through direct bombing of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian and Kurdish villages and towns. Sometimes by indiscriminate shelling of these areas, by military ground offensives, the killing of innocent citizens and displacement from their villages and towns, only to leave them behind in the hands of and under the direct control of the Turkish army, with inhuman orders from aggressor Turkish leaders back home.
The results of Turkey’s military operations over the last six years affected more than 30 Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian Christian villages and an equivalent number of Kurdish villages. The latest military operation that started on June 16th, 2020, caused displacement under the horror of Turkish war drums, and aims to eliminate the indigenous inhabitants of the region, by terrorizing, displacing, and occupying the region.
All this is done under the pretext of going after PKK affiliates, while the real reason is to expand and build military bases on Iraqi soil. Where the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is unsuccessful domestically and fails to solve the problems of Turkey’s diverse society internally, he tries to cover up and externalize all these deficiencies with military operations in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, proving Turkey a successor of the Ottoman Empire – where in the Sayfo Genocide of 1915 more than three hundred thousand Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians were massacred and which displaced and deported more than two hundred thousand of them.
The current displacements complement decades-long displacements, and aggravate past and current emigration waves by the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people from Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, Maysan, Babil, Diyala, Mosul and the Nineveh Plain due to the sectarian strife inside Iraq between 2005-2014 and, from 2014 onward, ISIS rule and atrocities. All this could make critics look for patterns and strengthen the idea among Sarcastics that the latter extremist ideologies of denial and extermination are the same as those of monist Turkey.
The Iraqi government, its president, and its prime minister have officially denounced the attacks and an official complaint was sent to the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad. All were flouted by the leadership in Ankara. Leaves us to ask what the fate is of the residents of the northern region and of the Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians and the Kurds, whose cases were not considered by the Iraqi government and not by the KRG. We were wronged from Basra to Zakho through various means of terrorism in order to end our indigenous presence and historical existence in our ancient and beloved Iraq. Who is responsible for our people? Is that not the government in Baghdad?
As we censure our comments on the failure by the government in Baghdad of the last six years, we turn to the world public opinion and the United Nations and demand them to intervene directly in the case of our Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people. The Bethnahrain Patriotic Union has previously made numerous calls, in our own capacity or together with other organizations and parties of our people, to the UN, the world public opinion, and the International Court of Justice. But all to no avail.
Today we call on the Iraqi government to send an official letter to the UN Security Council to open an investigation into Turkey’s crimes with the International Court of Justice, in accordance with the general accepted principles of international law and in accordance with Article 38 of the statute of the International Court of Justice which says state terrorism is terrorism practiced by a state as a whole system and by political decision against another country, individual or group of individuals. The current Turkish invasion is unlawfully justified by President Erdogan.
We condemn the Turkish invasion of Iraq and its aggression against the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and the Kurds. We demand the government of Turkey to withdraw its aggressive forces and respect the sovereignty of Iraq. And we make an urgent appeal to the neighboring Turkish people not to be dragged into the selfish goals of the current President of the Republic of Turkey, and so burden Turkey with many hostilities with many peoples, all under the pretext of protecting Turkey.
We urge the President of the Republic of Turkey to resolve all domestic problems internally and in a democratic, rational, and humanitarian manner. We urge him to respect the sovereignty, values and security of neighboring peoples and distance the Turkish people from the scourge of wars.
Turkey and its people today are praised for the economic, cultural, and political development they had made between 2000 and 2015, a level they had reached without equivalent in the Middle East. It is all the more unfortunate that the rulers in Ankara now sow hatred, strife and wars among the peoples of the Middle East, distort the image of the proud and peace-loving Turkish people and work to threaten the fate and future of the region, but especially of Turkey.
* We were able to obtain most of the names of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian villages: Aqri, Bayt Balwak, Malikhathaan, Siru Dashti, Khalawaan, Khawaranaan, Bayt Tanury, Bishmiayiun, Hess, Markajia, Dawriun, Ayt, Ayan Danuni, Dirshikiun, Mayi, Mawska, Tawtha Shimaya, Jadidiun, Tashish, Jamikiun, Bayt Qulki, Juqlaa, Jilk, Baz, Kanyaan Bialafa, Nahla, Jabal Qari, and the Sinjar area in the NIneveh Governate.