Turkish Operation in Iraqi Kurdistan
Turkish Operation in Iraqi Kurdistan

Thank you for contacting me about Turkish military operations in northern Iraq.

I am aware of the Turkish military’s recent operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, specifically, in Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan. The Turkish Government has said that these operations are targeted at PKK positions.

I believe all parties should adhere to ceasefire agreements and international law. I hope the British Government will continue to urge dialogue and the search for peace in the region.

I know that there have been calls, including by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kurdistan in Syria and Turkey, to review the classification of the PKK as a terrorist organisation in the UK.

I believe it is for the Government to objectively decide which groups and organisations are proscribed in the UK, based on the latest intelligence and clear evidence available to Ministers. The Government has said it does not routinely comment on intelligence matters, including the threat posed by specific proscribed organisations.

More widely, the treatment of the Kurdish minority in Turkey, particularly those who support the opposition, worries me deeply. The appalling levels of discrimination have no place in a democratic society. The British Government should take a far more active role in raising these matters with the Turkish Government, encouraging work towards the full protection of fundamental human rights, especially in the areas of minority rights, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

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