On Thursday, Turkey’s defense minister and top government figures vehemently denied claims that the Turkish Armed Forces had employed chemical weapons in operations against militant Kurds.
This week, media affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group released footage that they said showed the army using chemical weapons against the PKK in northern Iraq.
In a separate study, a federation of international medical organisations called for an impartial investigation into potential contraventions of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
“Allegations that ‘the Turkish Armed Forces used chemical weapons’ are completely baseless and untrue,” the defense ministry said in a statement.
“All these disinformation efforts are the futile struggles of the terrorist organization and its allies,” it said, adding that its military forces did not use or possess any ammunition that was prohibited by international law and agreements.
The European Union, the United States, and Turkey have all recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization. In the aftermath of the insurgency it started against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have died.
Indirect evidence of potential violations was reportedly discovered during a September visit to northern Iraq, according to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which advocates for the prevention of nuclear conflict and represents thousands of physicians.
“The chemical weapons lie is a futile attempt by those who try to whitewash and airbrush terrorism. Our fight against terrorism will continue with resolve and determination,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.
The AK Party’s official spokesman, Omer Celik, called individuals who assert the use of chemical weapons members of “a vile slander network.”
According to the IPPNW’s research, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar publicly admitted in front of the Turkish parliament last year that tear gas had been used during an operation against the PKK in northern Iraq.
“This is an outright violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and should be pursued legally by the international community,” it said.
The IPPNW claimed to have discovered materials in northern Iraq close to a Turkish army-abandoned area, including bleach and hydrochloric acid canisters that may be used to create chlorine, a chemical warfare agent. Containers for gas masks that guard against chemical weapons were discovered at the same location, it claimed.
It claimed that none of the evidence provided concrete evidence of chemical