Wednesday, January 17, 2007


"Not even one bullet was found during the operation."
~ Abdurrahman Palef, Maxmur Camp official.

American forces in Iraq raided the Maxmur refugee camp today, from TDN:

An official of the Mahmur district, Abdurrahman Palef, said that Iraqi army and coalition forces launched the operation to the camp, which harbors around 10,000 Kurdish refugees from Turkey, yesterday morning. Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey, Metin Çorabatır, confirmed that there had been a raid on the camp.

Palef said that the aim of the operation was to get a head count, identity verification and see if there were any military elements at the camp," reported Doğan News Agency. "Not even one bullet was found during the operation," he said. "There are no problems."

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, a representative of the Mahmur Refugee Camp, Hüseyin Seyhan, said to a Kurdish news agency that it had been a "routine control" operation.

"Around 500 Iraqi soldiers searched the camp," he said to the pro-Kurdish ANF News Agency. "In the morning hours they came and asked to conduct an official search, demanding we help them. We made an announcement to the people residing at the camp, and then a house-to-house search was made." Seyhan confirmed that U.S. soldiers joined the search. He added that the inspection was done ahead of the population count to be done by the United Nations on Jan. 26. "We helped the soldiers during the search," he said, according to the ANF Web site.

Must have been a slow day in Baghad and Anbar Province for the Americans to make a raid on Kurdish refugees, but it sure as hell was a lot safer. After all, not even one bullet was found among these Kurdish refugees who had been driven from their homes by Turkish security forces years ago. From HRW:

A further cause for concern is Kurdish refugees from Turkey sheltering in Northern Iraq. The largest group is living in precarious circumstances at the Makhmur refugee camp. In March 1994 helicopters and jets bombed the villages of Kumçatı, Sapanca, and Gever in Şırnak province near the Iraq border, killing thirty-six civilians, including at least seventeen children. Villagers reported that in the days leading up to the attack, gendarmes had subjected them to death threats because they had refused to join the village guard corps. After the bombing, several thousand Kurdish villagers crossed into Northern Iraq seeking safety. About 4,800 are still in Iraq, in a camp established at Makhmur, below the 36th parallel. It is alleged that the camp is unofficially controlled by PKK/KADEK. In 2002 the Turkish government asked the Iraqi government to close down the Makhmur camp and hand its inhabitants over for trial. Clearly, if this group of refugees were forced to move northward toward the militarized zone in the event of a conflict, there is a risk that they would be subjected to human rights violations at the hands of Turkish forces.

First of all, what does it mean to say, "It is alleged that the camp is unofficially controlled by PKK/KADEK?" It means that many of the people in Maxmur are pro-PKK. They're in their present situation because they refused to become Koy Korucular--the hated Village Guards. Get over it. People will choose their own political allegiances. Secondly, notice that the Turkish government has been pressing for Baghdad to return the refugees and hand them over to the Turkish government for trial. What will they be tried for, for having their homes, villages, and way of life utterly destroyed by the Ankara regime? For being witnesses to the war crimes of NATO's second largest army? Yeah, that's the ticket.

From an interview with CNN-Turk at the end of September, 2006, check out the following questions and replies, given by Lockheed Martin Board of Directors member Joseph Ralston:

CNN-TURK: Along the line of thought of Northern Iraq not being a refuge for the PKK anymore, are you, in principle, for the closure of the Mahmur Camp?

GENERAL RALSTON: Absolutely. The UN has said that we need to close the Mahmur Camp. There are certain steps that you need to do in order to carry that out. And that’s certainly one of the things we’ll be talking to the Iraqi officials about.

CNN-TURK: Can we say that the Mahmur Camp will be closed in the foreseeable future?

GENERAL RALSTON: I don’t know if you can say that or not. There are steps that have to be done in order to do it. It’s certainly the intention to close the Mahmur Camp as soon as possible.

Will the US forcibly return these refugees to Turkey, so that Turkey can detain, torture, and imprison them after a sentence in a Turkish kangaroo--OOPS! Excuse me-- security (i.e. military) court? Remember, they refused to become traitor Village Guards. Will this be the result of some kind of deal between Lockheed Martin, the American Turkish Council, and The Cohen Group? Will it be good for business? Stay tuned.

Let's note also that it was NATO weaponry, supplied by NATO countries to the Turkish security forces, that enabled Turkey to engage in numerous massacres and destruction of Kurdish villages under Turkish occupation. Patterns of abuse by Turkish security forces are well-established, again from HRW:

In a thirteen-year-long conflict with the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), Turkish security forces established a reputation for systematic torture and extrajudicial killing. When Turkish police, gendarmes, or soldiers had difficulty in distinguishing between rural civilian populations and armed insurgents, they drove the peasantry off their land and burned down thousands of settlements to create free-fire zones in the countryside. Soldiers torched villagers' homes, destroyed their crops and orchards, and machine-gunned their livestock. No official record was kept of these operations or the destruction wrought in the course of them, and no compensation was paid. Even by official figures, widely considered to be a serious underestimate, 380,000 people lost their homes. Most of the displaced are now living in poverty in the metropolitan areas of the country. Government return programs are a sham, without sufficient funding or political will to regenerate the fragile peasant economy. This pattern of violations has been corroborated by judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which found Turkish security forces responsible for torturing, killing, and "disappearing" Kurdish villagers and burning them out of their homes.

Let's further note that TESEV has already established that the number of displaced Kurds is at least three times the official figure and HRW has recently issued a report on the scandal which passes for Turkey's compensation law:

The sums proposed by assessment commissions had never fully compensated displaced persons for the losses they had suffered. But until this year, the sums in some cases were comparable with compensation sums for displaced families ordered by the European Court for Human Rights. This all changed in January, when the court rejected the application of a Tunceli villager in Içyer v. Turkey on the grounds that the Compensation Law was an effective domestic remedy. Thereafter, the more than 1,500 cases pending before the court were dismissed on the grounds that the applicants had not exhausted the effective domestic remedy provided by the Compensation Law.

Since the European Court for Human Rights announced its decision in the İçyer case, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the implementation of the Compensation Law. Increasingly, damage assessment commissions appear to apply arbitrary and unjust criteria in calculating compensation, resulting in absurdly low compensation amounts in many cases. These calculations consistently seem to favor the government and appear to be biased against the victims of government abuse.

“A compensation process to benefit the displaced has now become a way to relieve the state of its liability,” said Cartner.” The derisory sums offered are not only unjust, but they also undermine any possibility for the villagers to rebuild their lives.”

The UN will be complicit if any harm comes to the Maxmur refugees, since the UN has appointed a Turkish wolf to guard the Kurdish sheep, from the TDN article:

Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey, Metin Çorabatır, confirmed to the Turkish Daily News that there had been a raid on the camp and said the U.N. agency was not involved. "For some time, there have been talks between Turkey and the UNCHR over the future of the camp and a possible voluntary return of the residents," he told the TDN over the phone. "But lately we were observing increased political activity at the camp. We believe radical elements were settling down there."

Noting that since the 2003 attack against the U.N. in Baghdad, the Mahmur Camp was not run by UNHCR and thus there was a lack of authority at the camp, Çorabatır added that the raid might be a first step in determining the future of the camp.

There should be no Turk in charge of Kurdish refugees, especially since these refugees are not located in Turkey, and it is a bold lie to say that the UN was not involved in the raid. I have no doubt that this Turkish UN official has been advancing Turkish interests with regard to the Maxmur refugees, and the racism of Metin Corabatir is very clear from the complaint that no authority existed at the camp, as if Kurdish adults, who had taken care of their own business in their own villages before the fascist Ankara regime destroyed them, were not capable of establishing their own authority with regard to their lives at the refugee camp. This racist Turk must be removed from having any authority over Kurdish people.

The best quote of the day comes from Maxmur official, Abdurrahman Palef: "Not even one bullet was found during the operation."

Compare with comments attributed to Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister for the fascist Ankara regime, in a few weeks ago:

Gul also noted that negotiations are underway to evacuate Mahmur camp (held by members of terrorist organization).

What an odd kind of "terrorists" are these, Abi? With not even a single bullet to their names, they are totally unlike the terrorists who make up the Turkish security forces. It looks like the egg is on your face, pal. You'd better wipe it off before you accompany Yasar Pasha on his trip to DC next month.

By the way . . . There's a documentary produced by Barry Lando and Michel Despratx for French TV on US (and French) complicity with the Saddam regime. It goes into support for Saddam's chemical weapons production and the reactions of the US and French governments to the Helebçe chemical massacre. Apparently, the UN is also sitting on a lot of "secret" documentation in order to protect the guilty.

You can get more information from AlterNet and view a couple of video clips from the documentary.

The documentary has been aired in other countries, but not in the US. Big shock.

We need to get this broadcast here.

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