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Defend Kurdistan against Turkish Occupation

We – nearly 150 politicians, human rights advocates, journalists, academics, members of parliaments, political activists, ecologists, and feminists from all over Europe, world and Kurdistan– have been closely following the dangerous developments resulting from Turkey’s attacks on South Kurdistan (North Iraq) since the 23rd of April 2021. As a result, we have gathered in Erbil today and decided that we must speak out.

 

Many other organisations and individuals who cannot be here today for various reasons have also expressed their solidarity and support for the proclamation of our international initiative, DEFEND-KURDISTAN.

 

So, it is with one united voice of moral clarity, that we wish to unequivocally condemn the Turkish Military’s ongoing occupation of South Kurdistan and stand in solidarity with the people of South Kurdistan and Kurdish resistance forces in the protection of their homeland.

 

In April, the Turkish state initiated a new, wide-ranging military campaign in South Kurdistan in the regions of Matina, Zap and Avashin. Heavy battles continue in these regions, with the Kurdish guerrilla forces fiercely resisting this illegal invasion. These large-scale attacks target not only the Kurdish guerrilla forces, but also the achievements of the Kurdish people, with the aim of occupying South Kurdistan. To date, the response to these attacks on the international level has unfortunately been muted. Seizing on this silence, the Turkish regime has put in place their plan to occupy all of Rojava (the region of North and East Syria) alongside South Kurdistan. In so doing, Turkey is determined to ethnically cleanse this vast area – 1400 km long – from North-West Syria to the Iraqi-Iranian border. At the same time, Turkey is waging a drone war against the Maxmur refugee camp, a gross violation of international law. Connected to this policy of ethnic cleansing, the Turkish military also hopes to depopulate the Sinjar region, home of the Yazidis—and thereby achieve what ISIS could not.

 

Since the summer of 2012, the Kurds of Rojava and North East Syria have been working hand in hand with local communities of Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmens, and Armenians, having led a revolution together that established an Autonomous Administration that is democratic and empowers women. In response, Turkey has used jihadist militants to directly attack these areas of Rojava including Afrin, Azaz, Jarablus, Sere Kaniye and Gire Spi (Tal Abyad), in the hopes of occupying and destroying the achievements of this women’s-led Administration. During these ongoing occupations, Turkey has engineered demographic change, systematic rape, and enslavement of women, causing mass displacement of the large Kurdish and other civilian populations, as part of their strategy to Turkify and eventually annex these lands.

 

And the issues are not only abroad. In fact, the latest example of Erdoğan’s unrelenting hostility towards Kurdish political and social gains derives from within Turkey itself, and his attempt to shut down the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). This is the latest step in a years-long campaign against the HDP – a progressive alliance of Kurdish, Turkish and many other democratic parties, organizations, and individuals – which has led to the imprisonment of over ten thousand HDP members.

 

Unfortunately, the Kurdistan Region (KRG) and the Iraqi government have done little to stop Turkey’s occupation attempt. In particular, it has been disappointing for us to see how Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) officials have even tried to legitimize the Turkish occupation. Whatever Ankara’s economic pressure might be, the KDP must not allow itself to be turned into a Turkish proxy, as the consequences of this war can be grave for all of Kurdistan and the region.

 

The world must also recognize that Turkey is attempting to carry out a genocide against the Kurdish people. And it is only the Kurdish resistance movement which is preventing the full occupation of Kurdistan and annihilation of the Kurd’s political rights. The current armed resistance in Zap, Avashin and Metina has turned Kurdistan into a stronghold of defiance, not just for the Kurds, but for all the people in the wider region threatened by Turkish neo-Ottoman expansionism. To this end, Turkish President Erdoğan has made no secret of his ambition to restore the lost glory of the Ottoman Empire by reconquering its former territory.

 

As such, parallel to Turkish military campaigns against the Kurds in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, Erdoğan has meddled in various conflict areas, including Libya, Artsakh/Azerbaijan, Yemen, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, and Lebanon. Connected to this, are his threats against many nations, such Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and France.

 

We must also recognize that Erdoğan’s regime has a long track record of funding, arming, and supporting the Islamic State (ISIS) and various other similar violent jihadist groups, using them officially and unofficially as proxy forces to augment the Turkish state’s reach abroad. During the recent conflict in Artsakh involving Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, Erdoğan sent hundreds of jihadist proxy fighters from Syria to support Azerbaijan and has also sent these fighters to Libya to participate in the country’s protracted conflict. Through these actions, Turkey is violating the sovereignty of other countries, and spreading its mercenary terrorism throughout the globe.

 

Erdoğan is well aware of Turkey’s unique geopolitical position and exploits it to his advantage. He knows that his military, the second largest in NATO, is a formidable force and bulwark for the ‘West’. So, the Turkish state, under his rule, continues to openly and systematically defy international law and violate human rights conventions. Turkey continuously violates sovereignty of many countries. Meanwhile, NATO, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe all respond with deafening silence. But the international community must be driven by morality not geo-strategy. And their failure to challenge Erdoğan’s authoritarianism and war crimes, effectively gives him permission to continue his military aggression. In turn, it also makes them a partly responsible conspirator in his ongoing destruction.

 

We therefore proclaim an international initiative DEFEND KURDISTAN Against Turkish Occupation!

 

In order to achieve an immediate stop of the Turkish attacks on South Kurdistan and a withdrawal of all Turkish troops and Islamist mercenaries we demand the following:

  • Stop the Turkish occupation, demographic change, instability, and ethnic cleansing campaign in South Kurdistan.
  • Stop the destruction and exploitation of Kurdistan’s nature.
  • No complicity of international and regional powers in the Kurdish genocide.
  • Support of all Kurdish parties, institutions, and people for the guerrilla’s resistance and their united stance against the Turkish occupation.
  • No to Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman expansionist project throughout the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Learn more at https://defend-kurdistan.com/

 

Signatories of the International Initiative DEFEND KURDISTAN Against Turkish Occupation:

  • Massimiliano Smeriglio, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of S&D
  • Malin Björk, Member of the European Parliament of the Swedish Left Party, Sweden
  • Lotta Johnsson Fornarve,  Member of Parliament for the Left Party and Deputy Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Sweden
  • Villo Sigurdsson, Former Kopenhag Mayor
  • Pernille Frahm, Former MP, Socialist Peoples Party SF,Danmark
  • Ilona Szatmari Waldau, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Lorena Delgado Varas, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Tony Haddou, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Malcolm Momodou Jallow, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Jean Tschopp, Member of Parliament, Switzerland
  • Conni Moehring, Member of the Parliament, Die Linke, Germany
  • Cornelia Moehring, Member of the Parliament, Die Linke, Germany
  • Ilona Szatmari Waldau, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Lorena Delgado Varas Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Nicola Fratoianni, Secretary of the Left Party, Member of the Parliament, Italy
  • Tony Haddou, Member of Parliament for the Left Party, Sweden
  • Jean Tschopp, Member of Parliament, Switzerland
  • Raúl Zibechi, Journalist, Uruguay
  • Alberto Colin Huizar, Anthropologist, Mexico,
  • Alirio Uribe, Lawyer, Human Rights Defender, Colombia
  • Ana María Verá Smith, Professor, Mexico
  • Armando Wauriyu, National Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, Colombia
  • Celia Pacheco, Metropolitan Autonomous University Mexico,
  • Daniele Fini, Physician, Italy,
  • Gilberto López y Rivas, Professor, Researcher, Anthropologist at INAH Institute of Morales, Columnist for La Jornada
  • Fernando Matamoros, Professor of Sociology, Mexico,
  • Gilberto Conde, Professor, Mexico,
  • Héctor Valadez George, National Coordinating Committee of Peoples Resistance (CONUR), Mexico
  • Heriberto Cairo, Professor, Complutense University, Spain
  • Inés Duran Matute, Researcher, Mexico
  • Jose Santos Cordinador, Federation of the Afro Communities of Colombia
  • Kemal Soleimani, Professor at the Colmex Institute, Mexico
  • Margara Millan, Professor, Mexico,
  • Marylen Serna Salinas, Antropolog, People’s Congress, Colombia
  • Oliver Gabriel Hernández Lara, Sociologist, Mexico
  • Rafael Enciso, Economist, Mexico.
  • Raquel Gutiérrez, Professor, Mexico,
  • Rocío Martínez / Ts’ujul, Professor, Mexico
  • Rodrigo Camarena González, Researcher, Mexico
  • Sergio Tischler, Professor, Mexico
  • Beatriu Cardona coordinator Intersindical of women, spain
  • Vicent, spokesperson of Intersindical Valenciana, spain
  • Vicenç, political party Mas senator for Mallorca, spain
  • Daniel Lobato , PCE Communist Party of Spain
  • Dr. Ueli Mäder, Sociologist, Switzerland
  • Edibe Gölgeli, Member of the Grand Councillor, Socialist Party, Switzerland
  • Stefanie Prezioso, Member of the Council of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Anina Jendreyko, Artist, Switzerland B
  • Vincent Keller, Member of the Grand Council of Vaud, POP
  • Elisabetta Gualmini, MEP, S&D
  • Giuliano Pisapia, MEP, S&D
  • Patrizia Toia, MEP, S&D
  • Luigi Vinci, Former MEP
  • Paolo Ferrero, Vice President of the European Left Party, former Minister of the Italian Republic
  • Fausto Bertinotti, Former president of the Chamber of Deputies in Italy
  • Alfonso Gianni, former parliamentarian and undersecretary, co-editor of the magazine “Alternative per il Socialismo”
  • Maurizio Acerbo, National secretary of the Communist Refoundation Party
  • Albert Scherfig, Chef Editor of Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Allgemeinen Dresdener Syndikat der Freien Arbeiter*innen Union (FAU)
  • Allt åt Alla Association, Sweden
  • Jonas Eika, writer, Denmark
  • Andreas Buderus, Freelance Author
  • Anja Kerstin Lercher, Member of the District Council Marburg-Biedenkopf, Germany
  • Annette Mørk, President of the Horserød- Stutthof Association and Editorial Board of the “Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Antifaschistische Aktion Lüneburg / Uelzen, Germany
  • Anuradha Chenoy, Professor, retd. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
  • Associazioni, Sindacati, partiti politici
  • Baran Topal, Mitglied im Kreisvorstand Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Kreisverband Karlsruhe
  • Barbara Muraca, Barbara Muraca, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Environmental Philosophy, University of Oregon
  • Sinistra Italia, the political party
  • Moni Ovadia, actor, singer, musician and writer
  • Nicola Fratoianni, secretary of the left Italy party and deputy of the parliament in Italy
  • Domenico Gallo, Magistrate of the Court of Cassation of Rome
  • Silvana Barbieri, Cultural Association Punto Rosso
  • Manolo Luppichini, Documentarist
  • Vincenzo Vita, President of the Association for the Renewal of the Left
  • Mario Agostinelli, former secretary of the Lombardy trade union CGIL, President of the Happy Energy Association
  • Marco Bersani, Attac-Italy
  • Maso Notarianni, Maso Notarianni, President of ARCI (cultural and social association, 4401 clubs) of Milan
  • Left Italy political party
  • CUB, Basic Unitary Confederation of workers
  • CRED/GIGI , The Center for Research and Development for Democracy/International Legal Intervention Group
  • Association for the Left for another Europe, Massimo Torelli and Giulia Rodan
  • Domenico Gallo, magistrate of the Court of Cassation of Rome
  • Silvana Barbieri, Punto Rosso Cultural Association
  • Manolo Luppichini, Documentarist
  • Vincenzo Vita, President of the Association for the Renewal of the Left
  • Mario Agostinelli, Former Secretary of the Lombardy CGIL, President of the Happy Energy Association
  • Marco Bersani, Attac-Italy
  • Maso Notarianni, President of ARCI, Milan
  • Associazioni, Sindacati, partiti politici;
  • Sinistra Italia-Left Party of Italy
  • CUB, Confederazione Unitaria di Base
  • CRED/GIGI The Center for Research and Development for Democracy/International Legal Intervention Group
  • Massimo Torelli, Left Association for Another Europe, Italy
  • Giulia Rodano, Left Association for Another Europe, Italy
  • Anuradha Chenoy, Professor, retd. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
  • Kamal Chenoy, Professor, retd. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
  • Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India
  • Zoya Hasan, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Professor Achin Vanaik, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, India
  • Pamela Philipose, Public Editor, The Wire, news and opinion portal, India
  • Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate, Vice President Peoples Union of Civil Liberties, India
  • Irfan Engineer, All India Secular Forum
  • Pradip Kumar Datta, Retd. Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
  • Kunal Chattopadhyay, Professor, Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India
  • Ditte Bjerregaard, antropolog, Center for Magtanalyse, Danmark
  • Minna Katz,  Antropolog, Danmark
  • Jesper Brandt, Professor Emeritus, Roskilde University
  • Annette Mørk, President of the Horserød- Stutthof Association and Editorial Board of the “Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Albert Scherfig, Chef Editor of Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Emil Olsen, Chief Editor of Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Håkan Svenneling, The Left Party’s Foreign Policy Spokesperson, Sweden
  • Benny Gustavsson, Chairman of the Kurdistan Support Committee, Sweden
  • Söderham Kurdistan Solidarty Association, Sweden
  • Allt åt Alla Association, Sweden
  • Yekbun Alp, Second Vice Chairman The Left International Forum, Sweden
  • Abbas Mansouran, Epidemiologist
  • Hosein Moghadam, Political Activist
  • Bahram Rahmani, Writer, Political Activist
  • Dr. Ueli Mäder, Sociologist, Switzerland
  • Edibe Gölgeli, Member of the Grand Councillor, Socialist Party, Switzerland
  • Stefanie Prezioso, Member of the Council of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Anina Jendreyko, Artist, Switzerland B
  • Vincent Keller, Member of the Grand Council of Vaud, POP
  • Benny Gustavsson, Chairman of the Kurdistan Support Committee, Sweden
  • Berlin Migrant Strikers
  • Chris Trinh, Photojournalist and Researcher, Ecology and Migration
  • Christof Buerkler
  • Claudio Cattaneo, Contract Professor Ecological Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • CRED/GIGI , The Center for Research and Development for Democracy/International Legal Intervention Group
  • CUB, Basic Unitary Confederation of workers
  • DIE LINKE, District Association, Neumünster
  • Susanne Schaper und Stefan Hartmann, Chairpersons of DIE LINKE, Sachsen
  • Ditte Bjerregaard, Antropolog, Center for Magtanalyse, Danmark
  • Domenico Gallo, Magistrate of the Court of Cassation of Rome
  • Dr Sidney Luckett , Cape Town, South Africa
  • Dario Azzellini, Political Scientist and Sociologist, Ithaca (USA) and Berlin
  • Federico Venturini, Researcher University of Udine – Italy
  • Laurence Davis, Director of the BSc Government and Political Science, Department of Government and Politics University College Cork, Ireland
  • Mechthild Exo, University, Emden/Leer / Jineolojî Committe Germany
  • Dziewuchy Berlin
  • Edith Bartelmus-Scholich, National Executive Board Member, Die Linke, NRW
  • Edo Schmidt, Sociologist, Münster,
  • Elisabetta Gualmini, MEP, S&D
  • ELYN (European Left Youth Network)
  • Emanzipatorisch-Ökologischen Plattform
  • Emil Olsen, Chief Editor of Antifascistisk Forum” Journal, Danmark
  • Ende Gelände Leipzig
  • Ende Gelände München
  • Ende Gelände Ortsgruppe Hamburg
  • FAU Aachen
  • FAU Bonn
  • FAU International Committee, Germany
  • Fausto Bertinotti, Former president of the Chamber of Deputies in Italy
  • Feministische Partei DIE FRAUEN
  • Franz Klein
  • Frauen*Streik Bonn
  • Gabriela Cabaña, PhD researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Gegenstrom Hamburg
  • Gemeinsam Kämpfen
  • Giuliano Pisapia, MEP, S&D
  • GRÜNE JUGEND Dresden
  • Gruppo Diffuso, Verein zur Förderung alternativer Medien e.V. Erlangen
  • Håkan Svenneling, The Left Party’s Foreign Policy Spokesperson, Sweden
  • Heike Geisweid, Lawyer, Bochum
  • Interventionistische Linke
  • Irfan Engineer All India Secular Forum
  • Jesper Brandt, Professor Emeritus, Roskilde University
  • Jineoloji Committee Germany
  • Josef Danzer
  • Youth Commune (Jugendkommune Ş. Sara Dorşîn)
  • Jürgen Amend
  • Kamal Chenoy, Professor, retd. Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
  • Karl Nümmes
  • Kerem Schamberger, Kommunikationswissenschaftler und Bundestagsdirektkandidat der Linken München-Süd
  • Kira Sawilla, National Executive Board Members, Die Linke, NRW
  • Klima Aktion Thüringen
  • KOMintern, Communist Trade Union Initiative-International, Vienna/Austria
  • Communist Student Union
  • Kreisvereinigung Hannover der VVN/BdA
  • Kunal Chattopadhyay Professor, Jadavpur University, West Bengal, India
  • Kurdistan Soli Plenum Marburg
  • Kurdistan Solidarity Committee, Kiel, Germany
  • Left Party, Italy
  • Left Youth (Linksjugend [‘solid]), Germany
  • Left Youth (Linksjugend [‘solid]) Bayern, Germany
  • Luigi Vinci, Former MEP
  • Manolo Luppichini, Documentarist
  • Marco Bersani Attac-Italy
  • Marcus M. “Nizar” Erpenbach
  • Mario Agostinelli, Former Secretary of the Lombardy CGIL, President of the Happy Energy Association
  • Marta Conde Puigmal Autonomous University Barcelona
  • Martina Siehoff, Landesvorstand Die Linke.NRW
  • Maso Notarianni, Maso Notarianni, President of ARCI (cultural and social association, 4401 clubs) of Milan
  • Massimo Torelli and Giulia Rodano, Association for the Left for another Europe
  • Maurizio Acerbo, National secretary of the Communist Refoundation Party
  • Michael Löwy social scientist, Paris, France
  • Michaela Gincel-Reinhardt, Landesvorstand die Linke NRW
  • Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate, Vice President Peoples Union of Civil Liberties, India
  • Minna Katz, Antropolog, Danmark
  • Mizgin Ciftci, Candidate for the German Bundestag (DIE LINKE)
  • Moni Ovadia, Actor, Singer, Musician and Writer
  • Niklas Haupt, Councillor, DIE LINKE, Fürth
  • Nina Eumann, Spokesperson for Die Linke, NRW
  • Our House OM10
  • Pamela Philipose, Public Editor, The Wire, news and opinion portal, India
  • Paolo Ferrero, Vice President of the European Left Party, former Minister of the Italian Republic
  • Patrizia Toia, MEP, S&D
  • Pernille Frahm Former MP, Socialist Peoples Party SF, Danmark
  • Peter Schindler, Member of the Trade Union for Education and Science (GEW)
  • Pierre Bance, Doctor of Laws, France
  • Pradip Kumar Datta, Retd. Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Dr. Peter Sommerfeld, Institute of Social Work and Health, University of Social Work FHNW
  • Dr. Werner Ruf, Peace and Conflict Researcher
  • Rajeev Bhargava, Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India
  • Dr. med.Ulrich Gottstein, IPPNW Founding and Honorary Board Member
  • Professor Achin Vanaik, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, India
  • Rainer Hahn, Vors. SPD-Ortvereins Meckesheim-Mönchzell
  • Ralf Dreis, FAU-Frankfurt
  • Regionalvernetzung München des Netzes der Rebellion
  • Research & Degrowth
  • Rheinmetall Entwaffnen
  • Rudolf Bürgel Präsidium Landesausschuss DIE LINKE Baden-Württemberg
  • Ruth Luschnat, Alternative Practitioner, Berlin
  • Sascha Wegmer, Ortsvereinsvorsitzender SPD Birkenfeld-Gräfenhausen
  • Schwarzroten Bergsteiger_innen, SRB, AG der FAU Dresden
  • Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund
  • Seebrücke, BRD
  • Seebrücke Wiesbaden
  • Seebrücke Witzenhausen
  • Shawn Hattingh, International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), South Africa
  • Silvana Barbieri, Cultural Association Punto Rosso
  • Simone Barrientos, MdB Die Linke
  • Sinistra Italia-Left Party of Italy
  • Söderham Kurdistan Solidarty Association, Sweden
  • Solidaritätsnetz Bern
  • Sören Sossong IG Metall Saarbrücken
  • Studiengruppe (in)visible borders der Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften Landshut
  • Systemchange Not Climate Change, Austria
  • Thies Gleiss, Executive Committee Member of Die Linke
  • Tomasz Konicz, Author and Journalist, Germany
  • Urs Köllhofer DIE LINKE Marburg
  • Viktoria Schindler
  • Villo Sigurdsson, Former Major of Kopenhagen
  • Vincenzo Vita President of the Association for the Renewal of the Left, Italy
  • VVN/BdA, Kreisvereinigung Oldenburg/Friesland
  • Ya-Basta-Network for Solidarity and Rebellion, Germany
  • Yavor Tarinski, Author and Activist, member of the Transnational Institute of Social Ecology (TRISE)
  • Zerocalcare, Cartoonist, Italy
  • Zoya Hasan, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi