Turkey is continuing to cut down forests in Iraqi Kurdistan, according to a Kurdish MP who has shared a video on social media this week showing felled trees and long stretches of road, with their sides piled high with logs.
The independent lawmaker argued in the video that the trees that had been cut down were to be exported.
Since the launch in April of Turkey’s cross-border operation against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, there have been accusations that the Turkish forces have been conducting a deforestation campaign in order to build roads and military bases for their own use. At the same time they are making a profit from the wood they have cut, according to local reports.
Turkey’s actions will eventually lead to desertification of the fertile lands, Saleh said. “This is not just about occupying our lands but about manipulating them for their own interests.” he added.
Saleh said that most of the thousands of trees cut down every day are oak, and that the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) has chosen to remain silent as the destruction continues, and he called on Kurds to “take action against environmental destruction”.
According to the Green Party of Kurdistan, Turkey’s military presence on Iraqi soil has resulted in three million trees being felled, causing a significant decrease in wildlife habitat. Any animals that remain and can be caught are being sent to Turkey, the party said.
The Greens maintain that the Turkish military has contracted Cengiz Holding, a mining and energy giant with close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to handle the tree felling.