Articles by ILRIG

Solidarity with the 53 Kurdish Freedom Movement activists arrested by the Turkish state!

ILRIG statement:

Solidarity with the 53 Kurdish Freedom Movement activists arrested by the Turkish state! The ANC and South African state must stop exporting armaments and providing political support to the Turkish state


As the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG) we are appalled by the Turkish state’s ongoing brutal repression of activists in the Kurdish Freedom Movement. The aim of the Turkish state is to try and smother the values, principles and practices of this movement that further women’s liberation, direct democracy, and egalitarianism in Turkey, northern Syria and internationally.


In the latest incident, the Turkish state arrested 53 activists – including Ayse Gokkan of the Free Women’s Movement – on Tuesday the 14th July. Most of the activists that have been arrested were women. This, yet again, is an attempt by the Turkish state to undermine women’s liberation and the struggle for democracy in the Middle East and to suppress the voices of Kurdish activists.


This has come on the back of a sustained attack on the Kurdish Freedom Movement by the Turkish state that has included the removal of democratically elected mayors and their replacement with state appointees in the Kurdish region of Turkey, the invasion of parts of Rojava in northern Syria and the assassination of 3 leading women activists in Rojava through a drone strike.


We are also disgusted, but not surprised given the governing African National Congress’s (ANC) track record during the ‘post-apartheid’ period, by the continued support it and the South African state have shown towards the Turkish state. Indeed, the ANC has publically stated that it considers the authoritarian Recep Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as its sister party. We also presume this is why theNational Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC)has failed take any action against South African linked companies – namely, Rhienmettal Denel Munitions, DCD Group (Pty) Ltd, and Milkor (Pty) Ltd – for selling military products directly to the Turkish state or licensing Turkish companies to produce South African designed weapons. Some of these products too have been used in the invasion and occupation of parts of Rojava in northern Syria by the Turkish military and their surrogate forces. We call on the NCACC to immediately suspend all arms exports to Turkey.


As ILRIG we stand with all the progressive activists that have been arrested, assassinated or killed by the Turkish state and its surrogate forces, including the 53 comrades that have been arrested on the 14th of July. The best solidarity we can offer is to continue the work we have been doing around the Rojava Revolution and Democratic Confederalism, including sharing the related principles, values and practices of direct democracy, women’s liberation, anti-capitalism and the critique of the nation state with activists in South Africa.


The struggle for liberation and an egalitarian society is international. With all progressive comrades in South Africa, internationally, and in the Kurdish Freedom Movement we have a new world to win! Despite the repression of the Turkish state, we are the future.


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