Der Spiegel: A Mini-Halabja in Turkey?


The German newsweekly Der Spiegel claims to have obtained "shocking photos" that show the Turkish military using chemical weapons against the Kurdish militant group PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), though it doesn't appear that the images have yet been posted online. Here is Der Spiegel:

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.

The photos were obtained by a human rights group associated with Die Linke, the far-left party born out of the ashes of the East German communist party, SED. So skepticism is warranted, though I don't suspect Der Spiegel would run with this story unless it went through a pretty rigorous process of verification. Or at least one hopes.

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."

If true, this certainly won't help British Prime Minister David Cameron's "fight" for Turkey's EU accession.

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  1. You know who else used chemical weapons against the Kurds?

    1. George Bush

  2. If this is true, it seems that the current government is just determined to get into trouble with Europe.

    1. Whilst it’s relationship with Europe is important, Turkey will never be accepted into the EU.

      1. Back when Turkey was acting all secular and quasi-western, they had a shot. Now, they’re screwed.

        I can’t figure how the government has made such a radical departure from a fairly long tradition of not being Islamicrazy.

        1. Back when Turkey was acting all secular and quasi-western, they had a shot. Now, they’re screwed goddam lucky they never joined that monstrosity.

        2. Which has coincided with hardening of European attitudes about non-western cultures and immigration.

          1. Fair enough.

            1. Yeah, it’s quite interesting how much their prospects have changed in the last 12 years.

              1. I remember back when Clinton was el Presidente doing a Nato training op with turkish commmandos. their officers beat the ever living shit out of guys fr no reason. I felt bad for the conscripts and knew then & there that they would never enter the EU.

        3. Back when Turkey was acting all secular and quasi-western

          Technically gassing minorities has been a feature of Western European style secularism.

          1. You and your historical facts.

  3. In March, the activists gave the photos to a German human rights delegation comprised of Turkey experts,

    This doesn’t sound like something Rachel Ray would want to participate in.

    1. If you mean because the word “expert” can’t, by law, be used within fifty words of the name Rachel Ray, then you are correct.

      1. Fine. I was going to say “[insert name of favorite food network talking head]” but thought that was too wordy to be humorous.

        1. Come, sage, there are plenty of people on TV who I’d allow to prepare food for me. You named one of the few who shouldn’t even be allowed to eat food on television, let alone prepare it.

          1. I’m sorry! I hardly watch TV, let alone the food network. Her name just popped into my head. I really can’t think of anyone else.

            1. Just make up a name. There are so many food chefs these days no one will know.

              1. OK, trying again:

                In March, the activists gave the photos to a German human rights delegation comprised of Turkey experts,

                This doesn’t sound like something Meking Gudfood would want to participate in.

                1. I withdraw my objections! Meking Gudfood is awesome. I think she’s on the Cooking Channel.

                  1. Cooking Channel = Food Network for hippies

  4. There’s videos on many sights showing how Turks treat the bodies of dead PKK.

    Given the callous and atrocious nature of those I’m not amazed they are using chemicals.

  5. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, figuratively speaking.

  6. Since when do chemical weapons burn maim and scorch. Yes, some can cause blisters but not maim (delimb) or scorch.

    1. Some organizations say white phosphorous is a chemical weapon. Some say it is not.

      1. willy-pete-as-chem-weapon depends on its use… like if you use it to burn people as opposed to burning stuff.

    2. Well, pretty much all non-nuclear bombs rely on rapid, exothermic chemical reactions to maim and scorch their victims.

  7. Not having seen the photos, I’ll just say “burned, maimed and scorched” doesn’t imply chemical weapons to me, unless we’re calling incendiaries chemical weapons these days.

    Also, unless you get a clean shot with something about 7.62 or less, any kind of heavy weapon is going to leave something behind that’s barely recognizable as a human being. The aftermath of an airstrike can look like somebody set off a bomb in a butcher shop, and you’re reduced to counting body parts to figure out how many corpses are there.

  8. I am beginning to think the only solution for the territory between the Bosporus and the Hindu Kush is forced conversion of everyone living there to Jediism.

    1. You’ve inspired me again, Aresen. Previously, I had advocated making Kurdistan a U.S. state (Kurdlahoma). Unfortunately, that would be imperialistic, wrong, and sure to get the U.S. in deep shit with the rest of the world. However, if we made it a Canadian province (Kurdavut? Kurdbec? Kurditoba?), well, that should make everyone happy.

      Problem solved!

      1. Only if they immediately vote to separate. (Which our Provinces, unlike your States, are allowed to do.)

        1. Hey, that’s still an open question!

          1. Don’t several of the State’s constitutions have explicit provisions for this? I seem to recall at least Texas’ does.

            1. He’s referring to that Civil War thingee. Not legal precedent!

              1. Yes, it was a strictly civil, but nevertheless, legally binding precedent.

            2. Texas’ treaty to statehood does. However, as the state was part of the Confederacy and forcefully readmitted to the Union as part of the status quo ante of Reconstruction, Texans don’t have much of leg to stand on.

              Texas was the only state that was a nation prior to joining and therefore the only state that had an explicit right to secede.

              1. I swear to dog I closed those italics. bad tag.

              2. Given that Texas isn’t a state so much as an imperial conquest, if it comes down to it and they really want to leave, they’ll stand on the same leg that made them a state in the first place — murder dudes and wreck shit until people let you have your way.

                1. Nice to see a commenter wear a Che T-shirt with pride.

      2. The Kurds have never had their own country. Not since Alexander the Great. If they ever got one, it would take half of Iraq’s oil, all of Syria’s water, and a good chunk of Turkey and Iran. And they would love America forever for helping them. I don’t think creating such a state, arming the shit out of them, and telling everyone else in the middle east to keep it down or we will let the Kurds off of their leash is a bad idea.

        1. Frankly, after we decided to go all-in in Iraq, I thought we should’ve done about that for the Kurds.

          I think they’ll make great Canadians. Are they any good at hockey?

        2. If they ever got one, it would take half of Iraq’s oil, all of Syria’s water, and a good chunk of Turkey and Iran.

          Those all sound like excellent reasons for us to support a separate Kurdish state.

          1. Why not? Like we have something to lose with Turkey. . .or any other country, for that matter?

        3. The Kurds haven’t had a state in millenia because their culture is nomadic and not particularly inclined to holding territory or borders.

      3. Kurdish Columbia?

        1. New Kurdswick? Prince Edkurd Island?

          1. Shatsylvania?

          2. Kurdistan will work. Isn’t Canuckistan pretty much the unofficial name of Canada anyway?

            1. How boring.


  9. The Turkish government is becoming incresingly Islamist and, it would seem, this includes the brutality that comes with it.

    1. The fascinating aspect of Turkey right now is that the military is the remaining block against the Islamist takeover of the government.

      Which, if this story proves true, is a very unsettling development. It would violate all kinds of NATO by-laws.

      1. That’s been the case. Until recently, any time a religious party looked to take power, the Turkish military jumped in and said “Not so fast!”

        1. The Turkish military has also been very pro-Israel, which is why Turkey has been considered an ally of the Jewish state.

          But with the increasing power of the elected government, Islamism and pan-Arabism has started to cause some friction between the two old friends. As in, the flotilla incident, subsequent investigation, war games, etc.

          1. It’s coup d’etat time again, I suppose.

    2. It’s not Islamism. The military has long been fanatically nationalist, anti-Kurdish, and secular. It is possible to have militant nationalist secularists committing war crimes, and Turkey’s seen plenty of that in its history.

    3. This includes the brutality that comes with it.

      Turkey’s secular government is probably more brutal towards Kurds then an Islamic one would be.

      Hell the Islamic government would at least allow the Kurds to speak their own language and Kurdish women to wear the outfit.

    4. The Turkish government is becoming incresingly Islamist and, it would seem, this includes the brutality that comes with it.

      Oh yeah, the Turks were goddamned flower children back when Mustafa Kemal was running the army. Just ask the Armenians. Seriously, where do these asshats come from?

  10. The Germans are fiercely opposed to the Turks joining the EU and becoming an economic counterweight. Take everything with a grain of salt until the whole story is better documented. I’m not ready to join in the public shaming without the pictures being released.

    1. You beat me to it. I was about to say that while this story “certainly won’t help British Prime Minister David Cameron’s “fight” for Turkey’s EU accession” it will greatly aid the longstanding efforts of France and Germany to keep Turkey (and its lower-wage workers) out.

      1. another big reason for the french is the common agricultural policy. it would mean less money for their farmers.

  11. I doubt that there’s a far-left party involved. If there were, they’d be pointing the finger at the USofA or the Zionist Entity.

    1. ummm the US has pushed for Turkey being included in the EU and Turkey’s government is an ally of Israel.

      Anyway I doubt the left is behind some conspiracy simply because Turkey has hated and brutalized Kurds ever since Turkey became a nation.

  12. Of course, the world will call for an official UN inquest.

  13. Turkey is a signatory of the CWC and has certainly no stocks of chemical weapons let alone using them. Besides, even if it were used in this instance, which I am sure it was not, that is nothing comparable to Halabja since the war is on terrorist gangs in mountains and not civilian territories. Who cares how a terrorist dies, with a bullet or other means. But as I said, this hoax is only promoted by long time pro-terrorist der Spiegel and noone else. If they have any proof besides looking at some pictures given them by some pro-PKK activists, nothing stops them from presenting it to the world.

    And about Turkey turning eastward, Turkey has been a secular nation since it’s foundation and continues to be so. In the west there are christian parties, ministers who keep talking about christendom and emphasizing the importance of their religion in their institutions such as the EU, die hard christian leaders like Bush or Merkel who don’t hesitate invading countries and calling them a crusade, yet when Turkey shows the slighest religious concern or opposes Israel for it’s shameful acts it’s all omg west is losing Turkey, another Iran coming blah blah This is sheer Islamophobia and nothing else.

    About having relations with Iran or Syria, these are Turkey’s neighbours, you don’t pick your neighbours and for security and economic aspects you ought to have good relations with them. I mean America comes and bombs these countries and when it’s done they go back to overseas and forget about it, it’s not like that with Turkey who is left with America’s mess. Imagine how it would have an impact on you if Russia invaded Mexica and Russian armed Mexican terrorists crossed border killed some Texan Americans and went back on a daily basis. Yeah, it wouldn’t be the best of times.

    So while you talk about Turkey, middle east, east europe or near asia, you need to have decent information to form an opinion. The average Muslim image on your mind, a few blur memories about Iraq war and biased news media feed you is just not enough, how do you say.. mmmmkay?

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