Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turkish Diplomat to Head OPCW – The Fox Guarding the Henhouse

The picture above shows the confidential order given by Major General Necdet
Oztorun authorising the use of chemical weapons against the PKK

Strategy-Geopolitics reports that the Turkish career diplomat Ahmet Uzumcu has been appointed to be the new head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Apart from this being a success for Turkish diplomacy it is also somewhat contradictory that the head of such an important international organisation is from a country that has systematically violated the CWC, which Turkey ratified in 1997. Turkey has made verified and long term use of chemical weapons against Kurdish PKK rebels.

The Kurdish professor Celadet Celiker in his book “Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons in the Middle East” has collected information regarding the production of chemical and biological weapons in Turkish Army facilities. He uncovered a written order dated the 25th of February 1986, which was signed by Major General Necdet Oztorun, according to which orders and instructions are given for the use of chemical weapons in the operations against the PKK. During that timeframe there were reports of the combined use of chemical bombs and napalm by the Turkish Air Force, with the obvious intention to erase chemical leftovers.

Confirmation of the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels by Turkey surfaced in May of 1999. The use of chemical weapons happened in the Mallikaya area southeast of the city of Sirnak where Turkish forces used mortar shells with chemical loads against Kurds. The Kurds collected fragments of these shells which were analysed by the institute of Forensic Science of the University of Munich in Germany. On the 27th of October 1999 the German TV channel ZDF broadcasted the results on the analysis which confirmed that banned chemical substances were indeed found. The substances were derivatives of the RP707 chemical. The broadcast also uncovered that banned chemical substances for military use had been exported by the German company Buck to Turkey from 1995, causing political reactions. On the 6th of July 2001 the Human Rights Association reported the death of 20 Kurdish rebels from chemical weapons in Elmali in Yedisu province.

Except for Turkey, Albania also possessed a chemical weapons arsenal, which was discovered 10 years after Albania signed the CWC. In 2003 Albania declared to the OPCW that it possessed 16 tonnes of mustard gas in special steel containers weighing 50 kilos each. The containers were discovered in crypts which were constructed during the Hoxha era and the chemical loads were destined to arm artillery rounds and aircraft bombs.

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