Operation Peace Spring

Turkey denies use of chemical weapons in anti-terror op

Turkish Armed Forces denies use of chemical weapons in northern Syria as Turkey does not have any chemical weapons

Selma Kasap, Merve Yildizalp, Sefa Sahin   | 21.10.2019
Turkey denies use of chemical weapons in anti-terror op

ANKARA

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Monday denied use of chemical weapons in its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

During Operation Peace Spring pro-terrorist accounts have carried out smear campaigns, claiming that Turkey has been using chemical weapons although the TSK does not have any in its inventory.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stressed that Turkey does not have any bit of chemical weapons, so there is also no means of disposal or ammunition. 

The foreign press makes baseless allegations to cast shadow on the success of the operation, said Akar.

Akar noted that those foreign media organizations and internet websites come up with those fake news with unreal photos and claim that Turkish army used white phosphorus bombs.

Dr. Levent Kenar, professor and chair of Department of Medical Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense at University of Health Sciences in Turkey's capital Ankara, evaluated claims on TSK's use of chemical weapons.

"Chemical weapons are also weapons of mass destruction," said Kenar.

"It is not possible to affect only one person, the body of the child appearing on the photo is affected but there seems to be no effect on the face," he stressed.

"It is unclear where and when the wounded child's photo was taken, but it looks like the wounds are from an old burn," Kenar added.

Kenar emphasized that Turkey is party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC)," which is why their use by Turkey is out of question.

"There is no diagnosis of the use of chemical weapons on a body with burn marks," he said.

"For evidence of such a claim, blood tests and environmental samples must be taken and examined at laboratories as those would be scientific facts," Kenar said.

Uygar Halis Tazebay, a specialist of molecular biology, genetics and CBRN at Gebze Technical University in Turkey's northwest Kocaeli province, said chemical weapons production in Turkey is out of question and only defense systems for the purpose of identifying the use of chemical weapons are being developed.

"So if a region, soil or field is subject to a chemical, we can identify if it is affected or not, or if a person is affected by it, so only these systems are being developed," Tazebay said.

"Photography is one of the most easily manipulated elements in the world," he added.

"The claim of chemical weapons cannot be brought up by a photo, rather a laboratory analysis is required," he stressed.

* Writing by Dilara Hamit

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