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Friday, August 13, 2010

Media ignores Turkey's use of chemical weapons (updated)

Yesterday, Der Spiegel published a report indicating that Turkey used chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels.

German experts have confirmed the authenticity of photographs that purport to show PKK fighters killed by chemical weapons. The evidence puts increasing pressure on the Turkish government, which has long been suspected of using such weapons against Kurdish rebels. German politicians are demanding an investigation.

It would be difficult to exceed the horror shown in the photos, which feature burned, maimed and scorched body parts. The victims are scarcely even recognizable as human beings. Turkish-Kurdish human rights activists believe the people in the photos are eight members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) underground movement, who are thought to have been killed in September 2009.

In March, the activists gave the photos to a German human rights delegation comprised of Turkey experts, journalists and politicians from the far-left Left Party, as SPIEGEL reported at the end of July. Now Hans Baumann, a German expert on photo forgeries has confirmed the authenticity of the photos, and a forensics report released by the Hamburg University Hospital has backed the initial suspicion, saying that it is highly probable that the eight Kurds died "due to the use of chemical substances."

German politicians and human rights experts are now demanding an investigation into the incident. "The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things," said Claudia Roth, the co-chair of Germany's Green Party. "It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has rejected the accusations, according to the Berlin daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung, which reported on the case Thursday. Turkey is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and its armed forces do not possess any biological or chemical weapons, the ministry reportedly said.

The newspaper also reports that it has obtained additional, shocking pictures in the meantime, supposedly autopsy photographs of six other killed Kurds. These images, too, have now been submitted to the Hamburg-based experts.

So far, outside of Armenian, Kurdish and Israeli websites, the rest of the English-language media has ignored the story. It has been a full day since the initial report was published in English and German.

But I guess that if the mainstream media doesn't report it, it cannot be very important. Sorry for wasting your time.

(h/t jarh)

UPDATE: Islamic Jihad mouthpiece Palestine Today mentions the story, saying it is a "smear campaign" by Israel similar to what they did to Saddam Hussein, in order to pressure the world to invade Turkey and to deflect Israel from criticism for the Mavi Marmara.

Those wily Jews, submitting the photos months before the flotilla!