The Alliance Group in Switzerland on 14 September announced the launch of a petition calling on the President of the Swiss Confederation and Federal Parliament to impose sanctions on Turkey, as a preventive measure against Turkish cross-border operations into northern Iraq and northeast Syria.
The “Sanctions against Erdoğan’s war machine” petition has been launched by the Alliance Group, which consists of Campax, Kurdish organisations in Switzerland, the JUSO and Swiss MP Fabian Molina.
Alliance member Socialist MP Fabian Molina also submitted a request to the Swiss federal parliament demanding Switzerland take action against Erdoğan’s aggression.
With global media attention focusing on the Russian invasion into Ukraine, other conflicts intensify away from international limelight. Erdoğan has intensified attacks and bombardments in northern Iraq and northeast Syria during the summer months, resulting in numerous civilian deaths, the Alliance Group said in a statement.
The petition launched by the Alliance Group states, “Ankara justifies it’s attacks by saying that Turkey is tracking down terrorists in neighbouring countries. It resembles Putin’s justification of his war as a military operation to drive the Nazis out of Azov in Ukraine.”
The Swiss Democratic Kurdish Society (CDK-S) Foreign Relations Representative, Asmin Engin, said, “As a Kurd who lives in Switzerland, I do not understand why measures are taken in one war but not in another. War is war, victims need to be supported.”
The Alliance explains that Switzerland has received wide criticism for it’s hesitancy in joining the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It points out that Turkey has violated international law and is committing a war crime, and that a Swiss sanctions policy could be a critical preventive measure to further conflict.
The Alliance called on Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis to condemn Erdoğan’s war and impose immediate sanctions against Turkey. The sanctions must include entry bans, the freezing of Erdoğan’s funds and affiliated companies, and no Swiss arms trade with Turkey.
The Alliance also demanded Switzerland conduct an intensive investigation into violations of international humanitarian law committed by Turkish troops in Iraq and Syria.
According to a Community Peacemaker Team (CPT) report, between 2015 and 2021 Turkish forces have launched more than 4,000 aerial, artillery, and ground attacks within the borders of Iraq, of which 1,600 were registered in 2021 alone. The report documents that since 2015 Turkish cross-border operations have caused the deaths of 188 civilians in Iraqi Kurdistan, and over 500 villages to be abandoned in the region.