Turkey denies use of chemical weapons

The Turkish military recently denied that it was using chemical weapons to fight against the rebel Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

The military was responding to claims published in the domestic and foreign media that the army had been using such weapons. The claims have been picked up by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, according to News24.com.

"There have been no chemical weapons or ammunition registered in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces," the Turkish General Staff announced, the Anatolia News Agency reports. "The fight against the separatist terrorist organization continues in compliance with national and universal rules of law.”

The General Staff, which presides over the Turkish military, further commented that the claims made against the military were baseless and bias slander.

Turkey, and much of the international community, regards the PKK as a terrorist organization. The PKK took up arms for the independence of the Kurds living in southeastern Turkey in 1984. The conflict is thought to have claimed at least 45,000 lives since it began.

The allegations, since taken up by Turkey’s legal pro-Kurdish political party the BDP, have clawed their way into the open in Turkey, which usually looks the other way when confronted by accusations of abuse by the Kurds.

Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan made a public denial of the claims, calling them “slander,” while in Cannes at the G20 summit, News24.com reports. His moderate Islamic government has granted the Kurds more rights, but the PKK has resumed its campaign, which has included the use of suicide bombers.