Turkey denies report it used chemical weapons

August 14, 2010
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Turkish officials have denied media reports that their army used chemical weapons in its fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“These claims are not new; they have been made in the past as well. It is pure PKK propaganda with the purpose of tarnishing Turkey’s credibility,” a foreign ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

On Thursday, German weekly Der Spiegel said that German experts had confirmed the authenticity of photographs purportedly showing the burned, maimed and scorched body parts of eight alleged PKK members killed by Turkish chemical weapons.

The magazine said the claims were backed up by forensic reports from Hamburg University Hospital.

“The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things,” Claudia Roth, co-chair of Germany’s Green Party, said, quoted by Der Spiegel. “It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal.”

Roth is among the German politicians who have demanded an investigation into the allegations, the magazine said.

However, the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review said that sources insisted the report was not true.

“Turkey has been a signatory since 1997 to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and it has passed 12 inspections,” the unnamed Turkish official said. “The inspections clearly showed that Turkey is a chemical-weapons-free country.”

The foreign ministry official added that Turkey was “active worldwide in working for the prohibition of the development and use of chemical weapons.”

“Senior Turkish diplomat Ahmet Üzümcü was recently elected as the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the regulating body of the convention,” the source said. “Our purpose is to work for the eradication of such weapons. How can we possibly develop them and use them?”

According to the official website of the Turkish General Staff, the country’s defense strategy excludes weapons of mass destruction.

“Turkey does not possess WMD and does not intend to have them in the future. Turkey adheres to all major international treaties, arrangements and regimes regarding nonproliferation of those weapons and their delivery means, and actively participates and supports all efforts pertaining to nonproliferation in NATO,” the website said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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