The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has urged Turkey to recognize the mass killings of Yazidis by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq as genocide, on the seventh anniversary of the massacre, Turkish media outlets reported.
Starting in 2014, ISIL carried out a massacre of Yazidis who were living in the Sinjar district of northern Iraq, killing Yazidi men and forcing Yazidi women into sexual slavery. Many Yazidis had to leave their homeland in Upper Mesopotamia. Some 5,000 Yazidis were reportedly killed during the massacre after the withdrawal of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Peshmerga force, leaving the Yazidis defenseless.
“Turkey should ensure that Yazidis who fled to Turkey after the massacre can live safely and must take measures to protect the Yazidi identity and faith,” said Tülay Hatimoğulları, an HDP lawmaker who co-chairs the Peoples and Faiths Commission, in a statement made on the seventh anniversary of the Yazidi massacre.
“Steps should be taken to liberate the Yazidi women and children still held captive by ISIL,” Hatimoğulları said.
Recalling that a UN investigation team concluded in May that there is clear and convincing evidence that the crimes against the Yazidi people constituted genocide, Hatimoğulları said Turkey has a responsibility toward the Yazidis and needs to recognize the massacre as a genocide.
Due to ISIL’s actions against the Yazidi population, approximately 500,000 Yazidis became refugees in a number of countries.
Several UN bodies and national and international organizations recognize the Yazidi genocide.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish people who follow an old religion related to Zoroastrianism but which has remnants of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Their origins are in Iran, Iraq and Turkey. In Iraq they have been persecuted so many times in the last couple of decades that some have fled to Turkey in the hope of finding safety and the possibility of moving to the West.