Turkey’s planned attack on Rojava/North-East Syria must be stopped

Turkey’s armed forces are massed along the border with north-east Syria awaiting the order to invade. President Erdogan intends to use military force to establish a so-called ‘safe-zone’ 30km deep and 480km long (19 miles by 300 miles) inside Syria, on land that is home to over three-quarters of a million mainly Kurdish people. These people are to be killed or evicted from their towns and villages and replaced with over one million of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. Such a plan, if carried out, will result in enormous violence and will drive the Middle East deeper into chaos and destruction. President Erdogan and his AKP-MHP government are a danger to us all.

Following a telephone conversation between US President Trump and Erdogan on 6 October the White House issued this statement: ‘Turkey will soon be moving forward with it long- planned operation in Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operations, and United States’ forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial “Caliphate”, will no longer be in the immediate area.’ President Erdogan understood that this was the signal from the US that he had asked for and long been preparing for, saying on 7 October: ‘We made a decision. We said, “One night we could come suddenly”. We continue with our determination…It is absolutely out of the question for us to further tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups.’

President Erdogan brands any manifestation of Kurdish political representation or aspiration to democratic rights as terrorism, be it in Turkey, Syria or elsewhere. The Kurdish people in Syria, their political representation in the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and their military defence in the form of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have made no threat or challenge to the territorial integrity of either Turkey or Syria. They have complied with US-led mechanisms to ensure that Turkey’s border is secure and in doing so have dismantled defences near to Turkey’s border. No military actions against Turkey have come from Rojava/north-east Syria. However, the Kurdish people, along with the different ethnic communities that live in the area that is now threatened, have insisted they have the right to defend themselves if they are attacked. An SDF spokesperson said, ‘We will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to defend ourselves and our people.’ The PYD calls for ‘a democratic dialogue and negotiation process inclusive of all parties towards ending the civil war in [Syria]’ and points out that a Turkish military incursion with enforced demographic change are crimes against humanity according to international law.

In July 2012, the Kurdish people and others in Rojava rose up and established a democratic, gender equal, secular, ecological and non-sectarian administration with inter-ethnic cooperation. It became and remains a beacon of hope for the Middle East – a beacon that Turkey and others want to extinguish. In January 2018 the Turkish state and it auxiliaries attacked Afrin, the western-most canton of Rojava, and occupied it. Since then Afrin has been subject to terror and ethnic cleansing. Erdogan has spoken of his ambition to reclaim territories lost to the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. The attack on Afrin and an invasion of Rojava would be part of realising that ambition.

Under President Trump’s agreement with Erdogan, Turkey will take responsibility for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past few years. This is diabolical; it is well documented that the Turkish state has collaborated with and armed ISIS, and sought to use the jihadis against both Syrians and the Kurds. Some 11,000 SDF young men and women have been killed fighting ISIS. The Kurds and their allies are guarding thousands of ISIS captives, including about 2,500 from Europe and elsewhere and 10,000 and more from Iraq and Syria. Al Hol camp in north-east Syria holds approximately 70,000 people. There remain ISIS sleeper cells across the region. If Turkey invades, the ISIS captives will not be secure or detained.  Senior former US and British national security professionals have recently warned of the threat of a resurgent ISIS. That threat, the threat to the peoples of the entire Middle East, and the threat of repetitions of atrocities like September 11, 2001 in the US, of the Madrid commuter rail system, of the Bataclan theatre in Paris, and the Manchester Arena, will become all the more real and apparent as a consequence of permitting a Turkish invasion.

The British, European and US governments must tell President Erdogan and Turkey clearly and with one voice, ‘No, you must not invade,’ and they must back this demand with real and immediate sanctions if Turkey continues its threats.

8 October 2019

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NEU International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Dr Cynthia Cockburn, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Trevor Rayne, writer, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, Jonathan Steele, Steve Sweeney, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

 

 

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DON’T CRIMINALISE SOLIDARITY: Oppose new powers to prosecute returnees from designated overseas areas

Public Forum

Friday, 28 June 2019, 6.30-9pm at Room BG01, Brunei Gallery, SOAS University, Russell Square, London WC1H OXG https://www.soas.ac.uk/soas-life/location/maps/#Addresses

The event is hosted by SOAS Kurdish Society and Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and supported by Kurdistan Solidarity Network (KSK), London Kurdish Solidarity (LKS), Democratic Kurdish Peoples Assembly UK; Kurdish Youth Movement; The Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL); Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. Continue reading

Traces of the Goddesses

Knowing that there were and still are alternatives to patriarchal and capitalist domination opens up new options for political action …

by Andrea Benario, June 2018

“Countless pottery shards litter the ground. With stones carefully worked into tools and building elements, ancient clay walls testify to different eras of life. I step tentatively, because I do not want to injure the goddesses who rest here, or destroy their works … Every time I look at the gir hills or visit historic sites in Rojava, I am overwhelmed by these ambiguous feelings: an awed shudder at the great deeds that have been performed here, but also melancholy and sadness at the ignorance and plunder that these witnesses to human history saw.”

From Afrin to Dêrik, from Serê Kaniyê and Kobanê to Manbij, Raqqa and Abu Kemal, foosteps of two women’s revolutions trace the landscapes of Rojava and northern Syria. Through studies and research in various locations in northern Syria, the Jineolojî Academy is working to assemble and visualize facts and knowledge about the first women’s revolution. For these stories and histories of women, who report about exploitation-free and communal forms of society, were and continue to be denied by mainstream history writers, either ignored or dismissed as “unscientific.” But we consider knowledge and the awareness of the existence of nonstate-nonpatriarchal cultures to widen the horizon of our imagination. To bring about the women’s revolution in the 21st century, we must first challenge the patriarchal, colonialist truths and smash religious and positivist dogmas. Only in this way can we regain stolen knowledge and expropriated values, and defend and build new ones. Continue reading

Open Letter to David Miliband: Help us get Humanitarian aid to Rojava!


David Miliband
President of International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street
New York, New York 10168-1289
USA

29 November 2017

Dear David Miliband

We are writing to urge you as head of the IRC to use your influence to persuade the UNHCR, the Red Cross, and other internationally recognised humanitarian organisations including your own, to deliver aid and humanitarian assistance to Rojava in Northern Syria.

Rojava as you know is an area of relative peace and stability in the North of Syria. It is an autonomous self- governing region under the rule of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Its political model is based on direct democracy with gender equality at its heart. All political positions in the administration are held jointly by a man and a woman. It is also inclusive in terms of ethnicity and religion with Kurds, Arabs and all other groups being represented in the administration and the military protection units. These democratic, inclusive principles make this area unique in a region that is better known for gender inequality and sectarianism. Continue reading

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. Review.

Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga, 2016, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. London: Pluto Press (320 pp., paperback, £15.00)

Pluto Press has done a wonderful service in publishing a “Revolution in Rojava”, a first-hand account of the alternative social project being implemented at this very moment in the area called, in Kurdish, Rojava, or West -three cantons in the north of Syria with a sizeable Kurdish population, but which is home also to Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians and Chechens. As the world has shown images of armed Kurdish guerrillas, the YPG, and as their female counterparts, the YPJ, have made it to the front news, while leading the struggle against the Islamic State (IS). As the world looked in horror at the spread of IS which seemed for some time unstoppable, this group of determined fighters not only held them back, but inflicted them their first massive defeat in the defence of the city of Kobane –with it, their aura of invincibility was irreparably damaged. Continue reading

Urgent Appeal To the World’s Public Opinion and Humanitarian Organisations

The failure of the Syrian peace negotiations has led to an unprecedented escalation of violence. In addition, following the start of the 4th phase of the Wrath of the Euphrates Campaign to liberate Raqqa and its countryside, tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have moved to the Rojava and north Syria regions, which are relatively secure and safe areas thanks to the sacrifices and heroic bravery of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). Continue reading

PYD 8th Congress held in Brussels

The Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat- Democratic Union Party (PYD) Europe Organization held its 8th Congress in Brussels on September 24-25.It was attended by a total of 700 delegates, 135 of whom were women, who came from across Europe, Scandinavian countries, Greece and Bulgaria. Attendees included PYD co-chairs Asya Abdullah and Saleh Moslem, Greek Party Syriza’s Antonios Markopoulos, HDP’s Kemal Aktaş,  and Sinn Fein’s Emma Clancy.

The following message of solidarity was delivered on behalf of Peace in Kurdistan:

Solidarity Message to Conference of PYD on 24-25 September 2016

On the occasion of its 8th Conference in Europe, Peace in Kurdistan extends its solidarity and support to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish people. Continue reading

The Women’s Movement in Rojava

kongreya-starAugust 2016.  Kongreya Star is a confederation of women’s movements throughout the region of Rojava, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria, also referred to as West-Kurdistan. While Kurds make up the majority of Rojava and most of the population is Muslim, the area is home to many different peoples, including Arabs, Assyrians and Ezidis, as well as a large Christian minority and many other smaller groups. One year after the Syrian Civil War began, Rojava declared its autonomy from both the Assad regime and the various other armed organisations active in the war.
Continue reading