Tag Archives: Kobane

Turkey: Will the US choose the wrong side of history again?

Turning Turkey into the next Syria has already begun – and the US could play a pivotal role in stopping it

Written by Carol Benedict, Independent Journalist

Historic Armenian church in the Sur district of Diyarbakir destroyed by Turkish army February 21, 2016. Image via Twitter.

Historic Armenian church in the Sur district of Diyarbakir destroyed by Turkish army February 21, 2016. Image via Twitter.

Continued reports coming out of Turkey indicate a dire situation, worsening daily for the civilian population in the southeast region that is predominantly Kurdish. American media still refuse to cover this crisis, leaving most Americans clueless of not only what is wrong in Turkey, but why their own government is now in a precarious situation which has distasteful outcomes regardless the decisions made.

Because the US has a track record of basing policy decisions on oil and strategic military interests, it remains to be seen if they can take the moral high ground in the war against terror, or if they will buckle to the whims of a megalomanic bent on the destruction of the civilian Kurdish population within his own country.

President Erdogan and the Turkish government have taken revenge on the Kurds for their recent gains in the country’s elections in 2015. After winning a representative portion in parliament during the June elections, Erdogan called a snap election in November to take back any gains the Kurds had achieved. Since that time, efforts to decrease the support of his political opponents has resulted in his AKP government waging a literal ground war and extermination campaign against the HDP.

In the middle of last August, the government enacted curfews and sieges in the Kurdish cities, using the discarded peace talks and escalating violence with the PKK as an excuse. They set about destroying Kurdish homes, cemeteries, schools, villages, historical landmarks and art from ancient cultures to dehumanize the Kurds. President Erdogan has stated that this campaign will not end until south east Turkey has been “cleansed” of all “terrorists.”

Official reports from the Turkish press claim all those killed in the SE region of Turkey since August are terrorists. They make this claim by declaring the political party of the Kurds, the HDP, to be a terrorist group because of the simple fact that there are Kurds in the HDP and the PKK is also comprised of Kurds. In their minds, that makes anything Kurdish associated with terror, a just enough reason to massacre all Kurds, effectively beginning a genocide in the SE of Turkey.

The following press release was written by Hişyar Özsoy,  Vice co-Chair for Foreign Affairs, Peoples’ Democratic Party in Ankara.

Don’t let tomorrow be too late for Sur!

The indefinite, round-the-clock curfews that the AKP government has declared in Turkey’s Kurdish provinces since August 16, 2015 continue to deepen the emergency situation that undermines basic human rights and freedoms in the region, including the right to live and personal safety. As of today, curfews have been effective in seven provinces and twenty counties for a total of 395 days. This curfew policy directly and clearly violates imperative provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey as well as basic principles of international humanitarian law, first and foremost the provisions of Geneva Convention for the protection of civilians in war and conflict zones. The last and most destructive example of systematic violence and massacre threats under the curfew rule occurred in the town of Cizre, Şırnak province, before the eyes of indifferent Turkish and international publics: at least 165 civilians who had taken refuge in the basements of residential buildings amidst military operations were bombarded to death by Turkish security forces.

Whereas the AKP government continues to absolve itself of the responsibility to account for the basics of the civilian massacre in Cizre beyond the cliché of “fighting terror,” we are, once again, terrified by the news that most recently came from Sur district of Diyarbakır, which has been under curfew for the last 78 days, since December 11, 2015. According to local sources and the press, as of February 18th, around 200 people, including children and injured individuals, remain trapped in the basements of residential buildings in Sur district, where armed clashes have been taking place. For the last two days our party officials and members of the parliament have been trying to communicate with the government representatives, demanding official investigation of these claims and the opening of a safe corridor for the transfer of trapped civilians. Yet, all our efforts and demands remain unanswered. We are extremely concerned about the possibility that the massacre in Cizre may be repeated in Sur.

Under these circumstances, we are further concerned about the ongoing silence of the international public against the violence and massacres in Kurdish cities. As the military attacks against the trapped civilians were going on in Cizre, we had told the international public that their silence and indifference was bolstering the AKP government and its security forces in their unlawful and inhumane practices in Kurdish cities. Had the international public raised a powerful voice for the protection of the lives and safety of the trapped civilians in Cizre, perhaps we would not have had hundreds of dead bodies retrieved from beneath the ruins of Cizre today.

Now at the wake of a similar possible tragedy to take place in the Sur district, we are appealing to the international community once again. We are calling on all international institutions, humanitarian organizations and activists to take urgent responsibility and approach the Turkish government without any delay for the termination of curfews and state violence in Kurdish cities, and particularly for the protection of the lives of the civilians that are trapped inside the basements in Sur. Don’t let tomorrow be too late for Sur!

Sur, Turkey: Indefinite 24-hour curfew, over 200,000 in danger. Image via Twitter.

Sur, Turkey: Indefinite 24-hour curfew, over 200,000 in danger. Image via Twitter.

Meanwhile, in the REAL war on terror…

The Kurds in Iraq have an established military force, called the peshmerga, which in Kurdish loosely translates to mean “He who confronts death.” In Iraq, it was the peshmerga forces, working with the US coalition, that were able to repel ISIS in the northern territory of Iraq. It was the peshmerga, together with other Kurdish forces including the PKK, that were able to rescue the Yazidi population held captive on Mount Sinjar in 2014.

In northern Syria, the most successful and fierce ally in the Syrian war against Daesh (ISIS) has been the YPG/YPJ forces. The YPG (men) and YPJ (women) are Kurdish forces in Rojava, the Kurdish name for northern Syria. Their ongoing campaign against Daesh has taken back cities and territory the terrorist group had occupied. It was a direct result of their actions that the city of Kobane did not fall to Daesh a little more than a year ago. They are also helping refugees fleeing the area around Aleppo, where the war in Syria has worsened since Russia has joined the air campaign of bombing and shelling.

As these Kurdish forces continue to win against ISIS and work with the US coalition forces, Turkey has begun shelling and bombarding them. The AKP recently labeled the YPG/YPJ forces as terrorist organizations to justify their actions and President Erdogan has challenged the US to pick a side in this particular battle.

A History NOT worth repeating

The US government has befriended – and then de-friended – the Kurds in 3 past  interactions.

Writer Rick Noack in an August, 2014 article in The Washington Post, points out the US history of betrayal regarding the Kurds;

1972/1973 –  Iraq’s Ba’ath party has become a threat in the eyes of the U.S. government. President Nixon and Iran’s shah begin to fund the Kurdish pesh merga guerrillas and support their claims for autonomy. In 1972, Saddam Hussein had signed a “Friendship and Cooperation” treaty with the USSR.

1975 – After the surprising Algiers Agreement between Iran and Iraq is reached, the U.S. stops its support for the Kurdish rebels which causes the fragmentation of the opposition and an increased vulnerability to Saddam Hussein’s renewed attacks. While he exacts brutal revenge on the Kurds (including a catastrophic chemical weapons attack in 1988 that kills thousands) the U.S. breaks off all official relations to the opposition it previously backed.

1990 – Iraq occupies Kuwait, prompting the First Gulf War, which ends the alienation between the U.S. and the Kurds that had lasted for more than a decade. Iraq is defeated in Kuwait, but a subsequent uprising of Shiite Iraqis and Kurds (Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party is primarily seen as Sunni-supported) fails to gain U.S. support. The uprising is unsuccessful but Kurdish areas receive greater autonomy in 1991 when a ‘safe haven’ is set up by the UN. A U.S.-backed opposition group called Iraqi National Congress will be based in Kurdistan in the following years. However, inner-Kurdish cleavages emerge.

1996 – As a result of these rivalries, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP)  attacks the Iraqi National Congress in Erbil with the help of Saddam’s army. Many rebel fighters are captured and executed by the attackers after the U.S. refuses to provide air support.

2003 – The U.S. invasion of Iraq results in cooperation between the two main Kurdish adversaries, the KDP and the PUK.  Kurdish forces fight alongside U.S. troops against Saddam’s government.

2005 – A regional Kurdish parliament is formed. Soon afterwards, oil discoveries lead to a fear within Iraq’s central government in Baghdad that the Kurdish autonomous region could try to secede. Furthermore, tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq arise and provoke clashes. Turkey’s tough measures against its own Kurdish population extend over the border into Iraq.

In a recent telephone conversation between President Obama and President Erdogan, Obama “emphasized the unwavering commitment of the United States to Turkey’s national security as a NATO Ally.  The two leaders expressed their support for the understanding reached in Munich last week on the cessation of hostilities in Syria and called on Russia and the Assad regime to halt airstrikes against moderate opposition forces.  The leaders pledged to deepen cooperation in the fight against all forms of terrorism, including the PKK, and reiterated their shared goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL.” (emphasis added by OWW)

Words between world powers matter. America’s presence in the Middle East is fraught with resentment, hatred and bitterness based on the double standards, back room deals and treachery we have a demonstrated track history of waging. In our rush to defeat Daesh, we are willing to sacrifice innocent civilians and trample on human rights, so long as another world leader does it too.

After being on the wrong side of history on more than one occasion in the ME, it is time for Americans to force our policy makers to base decisions on the right reasons: humanity deserves no less.

Enough greed, power and capitalism has guided our decisions far too long, and we will no longer allow our military and foreign aid money to be used for the purposes of a genocide against the civilian Kurdish population within and around Turkey. Erdogan’s hatred is not our hatred, and we refuse to acquiesce to the notion that Kurds are terrorists because Erdogan says they are.

We encourage each of you as individuals to call, write or occupy the offices of your elected officials until they listen to these concerns.

  • We must demand that weaponry and ammunition sales to Turkey be halted until the war inside Turkey has ended and all sieges and curfews in all Kurdish cities have been lifted.
  • We must demand that the US continue viewing the YPG/YPJ as an important ally in the war against terror, and pledge to not turn our backs on them as Turkey demands we do.
  • We must demand humanitarian and human rights observers be allowed into SE Turkey’s Diyarbikir region until a reasonable stability has been restored to the civilian population of the area.

In addition, we strongly encourage you to support a Vigil for King’s Dream in Kurdistan, a peace vigil taking place in Washington, DC, across the street from the Turkish Embassy. After 35 days of presence in Washington, the Turkish Embassy has responded with misrepresentative signs and personal insults, but no invitation to talk with anyone from the group of Kurds and Americans calling for hostilities in Turkey to cease. You can learn more about the vigil or make contributions to it by visiting this website.

Occupy World Writes will be sending one of our co-founders to visit the vigil in Washington DC during March. Those of you who live in and around the DC area are encouraged to visit in person, as well as spread the word via social network and other means.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an independent researcher studying Kurdish history, culture and politics. She is also a human rights activist and advocate. She earned her BA in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, Winona and graduated with honors.

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Observing World Kobane Day while the Kurdish struggle continues

save-kobaneToday, November 1, 2015 is World Kobane Day. Most everyone remembers the battle for the Kurdish town last fall. Most everyone remembers the victory the Kurds gained after months of war against ISIS (Daesh) terrorists attempted to overtake the town. One year later, we pause to not only pay tribute to those who sacrificed everything in the struggle; we also are cautious that much is being overlooked or suppressed in the media regarding Turkey’s ongoing Kurdish question.

Kobane grabbed the world’s attention after being attacked in mid-October of 2014. Early on, Turkey predicted the city would fall to Daesh “within days.” Despite Turkey’s porous border regarding extremists wanting to join the Islamic State, they refused to allow Kurds across the border to help defend the Syrian town directly across from them.

After months of fighting and with the assistance of coalition forces airstrikes, the Kurds won back Kobane. The news crews left, and what remained of the city was mostly a pile of rubble where once stately buildings and beautiful homes had stood. Resourceful people, the Kurds set about rebuilding their town. It will take years and untold amounts of work and money, but these people will succeed.

But that is not the end of the story. Kobane is just one small glimpse regarding the Kurdish struggle in what was once glorious Kurdistan. Seen as a threat to Turkey’s sense of “one nation, one people,” since 1923 the government has engaged in an intentional direct assault against an entire ethnic group within its own borders.

Since Turkey’s elections on June 7, the pro-Kurdish party came in third, evidently thwarting the plans of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in reaching the supermajority of 367 seats to be able to change the Constitution, granting him unlimited power and a position for life. In an apparent attempt to rectify this supposed miscarriage of the democratic process, Erdogan called for another snap election for November 1, seemingly to try once again to get his permanent dictatorship.

As the elections in Turkey approached, violence against the Kurds has only escalated. An actor, Haci Lokman Birlik, was murdered by Turkish security forces. Turkish officials released a jarring video showing Birlik’s body being dragged through the streets behind a police vehicle. The pro-government newspaper “claimed that dragging dead bodies in the streets was ‘routine practice’ around the world, a security measure to check if the body was booby-trapped.”

Cemeteries are being blown up across Kurdistan, destroying the history of families, communities and lives around them.

When the bodies of 13 Kurdish fighters killed in Syria in a battle against Daesh were brought to Turkey’s border gate in the Kurdish province of Sirnak for burial, the Turkish authorities refused to give the dead bodies to their families. Protests were held and for 10 days families had to agonizingly wait while the bodies were held in a refrigerator truck at the border.

Those journalists who dare to attempt to cover these stories end up with their own extrajudicial killings, offices raided or bombed, families tortured, and long stays in Turkish prisons.

On August 9, Abdullah Demirbas, the former mayor of the Sur municipality in Diyarbakir, was arrested by Turkish authorities … [and] a list of charges were filed against him.” The report goes on to list Demirbas’ “crimes” as doing his job as mayor. “Most unforgivable in the eyes of the Turkish authorities, however, was: “For printing a children’s book and tourist brochures in Kurdish,” according to the same profile, “Demirbas was accused of misusing municipal resources. For giving a blessing in Kurdish while officiating at a wedding ceremony, he was accused of misusing his position … and for proposing that his district should employ Kurdish-speaking phone operators and print public-health pamphlets in Kurdish, he was accused … of aiding a terrorist organisation.”

On October 10, two bombs exploded at a peace rally in Ankara. 102 people were killed and over 400 were injured. The Turkish government is placing blame on the Kurdish community for these bombings. In actuality, security at the rally was so heightened that the only perpetrators of such an act would have been the security officials themselves or parties related to them.

And most recently, just as President Barack Obama announced sending troops to assist the Kurds in Syria, “Turkey’s military fired on U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in a bid to keep them from advancing toward the border, the Turkish prime minister said Tuesday. The comments by Ahmet Davutoglu were the first time that Turkey has confirmed the use of force against ethnic Kurdish militias in neighboring Syria.” How long before a Turkish soldier kills an American while shooting at a Kurd? What happens when a NATO country starts killing the troops of another NATO country? And how will Russia, also a player in the Syrian theater of war, react?

From a recent article, “What Turkey is engaging in appears an attempt at historicide, just as al-Qaeda and ISIS have done in Bamiyan and Palmyra and throughout Iraq — and as the Palestinian Authority did last week with the help of a duplicitous UNESCO by labeling the Jewish holy sites of Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Muslim sites. They have been trying permanently to delete the memories of entire nations.”

Will the Turkish election on the same day as World Kobane Day matter? For the Kurds, most likely not. Regardless of the outcome, the Turkish officials will exact on the Kurdish people within their own population what has always been given them: no rights, no peace, no language, no protection, no freedom and no future. They will seek revenge for the Kurds having attempted to gain rights to exist in their original homelands through the democratic process.

As Turkey continues to slide away from any resemblance of a peace process and returns more toward the mistreatment reminiscent to that of the years leading to the coup, more towns in southeast Turkey will suffer the fate of Kobane. But this time it won’t be Daesh doing the damage; it will be the Turkish government continuing its attempt to rid itself of anyone that is not a Turk.

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Erdoğan, Syria and the Kurds: be careful what you wish for

A complex political triangulation links the Turkish president with the Syrian imbroglio and the Kurdish question, but his political target is receding.

By Sinan Ekim. Published May 9, 2015 at openDemocracy

Photo By James Gordon [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By James Gordon [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Until a year ago, it seemed as if some sort of reconciliation between the Turkish state and its Kurds would be feasible. With the launch of the ‘Kurdish opening’ in 2009, the leadership in Ankara was re-engaging the Kurdish population after decades of estrangement. The announcement of the ‘peace dialogue’ between the government and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK), as well as the ‘reform package’ introduced by the then prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, confirmed in the eyes of many the executive’s genuine interest in reconnecting with its Kurdish community.

Since the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014, however, optimism has been in shorter supply. To be sure, the peace process is still moving along, albeit at a much slower pace than desired. Yet Erdoğan’s reluctance to come on board the military coalition against IS at Kobane, Operation Suleiman Shah (see below) and a series of domestic incidents since January 2015 have raised suspicions over whether Ankara is still intent on pushing the negotiations forward. Continue reading

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World Kobani Day vs. Turkey’s Foul Position

save-kobaneToday, November 1, is World Kobani Day. Also known as the International Day of Solidarity for Kobani, events are being held in major cities around the world.

From Kurdish Human Rights Watch: “If Islamist terrorists capture Kobane, they will massacre the remaining of its population—some 3,000 civilians are believed still to be in Kobane. An ethnic cleansing is already taking place. About 300 villages in the region have already been emptied. For the first time in more than three thousand years there will be no Kurds in the Kobane region.

Continue reading

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Kobane: the struggle of Kurdish women against Islamic State

By Necla Acik

Necla Acik is visiting Research Fellow at the Regent’s Center for Transnational Studies in London and has co-authored with Umut Erel (Open University) the report “The Struggle for Freedom and Gender Equality: The Contemporary Kurdish Women’s Movement in North Kurdistan/Turkey and the Diaspora” for London based women rights and advocacy group Roj Women. Her expertise is in gender and nationalism in Kurdistan.

Flag of the YPG. By LibComInt (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Flag of the YPG. By LibComInt (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For several days tens of thousands of Yezidis got trapped on Mount Sinjar in early August 2014 in an attempt to flee the attacks of the Islamic State (IS) on their towns and villages in Sinjar region in north-west Iraq, close to the Syrian border.

It soon turned out that these attacks were not just a strategic move by IS to provide them with a free gateway to northern Syria, but horrific tales of execution, abduction of women and children, forced conversions to Islam, and the mass exodus suggests a more sinister plan.

Amnesty International documented the atrocities of IS and accused them of carrying out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale, systematically targeting non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim local communities, such as the Yezidi Kurds, Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, Shabak Shi’a, Kakai and Sabean Mandaeans.

Several months before the IS attack, Yezidi leaders feared that they would be targeted by IS and tried to lobby for protection and intervention with trips to Baghdad and to the Kurdish capital Erbil. The Iraqi Army had already deserted the region, but they were reassured by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that their Peshmerga Armed Forces were prepared for an onslaught by IS and were ready to defend their Kurdish co-patriots.

Yet, as IS started to advance and attack village by village, to the surprise of everyone, the Peshmergas quickly withdrew, leaving the civilian population widely unprotected. Left behind were poorly equipped local militia and a few Peshmerga fighters who, at their own risk, stayed behind. They managed to hold back IS for a few days, enabling civilians to flee to the Sinjar mountains, but they had little power to prevent what Yezidis call the 73rd massacre on their community. This included group executions, abduction of women as spoils of war, rape and the trafficking of women and girls as sex slaves.

Kurdish female fighters rescue the trapped Yezidis from IS

via Facebook

via Facebook

As news of this humanitarian disaster went around the world and the international community was debating about a possible intervention, help came from somewhere else. The Kurdish women fighters (Women’s Protection Unit, YPJ) of Rojava (the self-proclaimed Kurdish autonomy region in northern Syria) and the women’s guerrilla units (YJA-Star) of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) along with their male comrades were the first forces to respond to the calls of the trapped Yezidi refugees. Setting off from Rojava, these fighters cleared more than a 100km passage through northern Iraq to Mount Sinjar and broke the siege of IS. They provided the desperate refugees with a secure corridor, which enabled them to embark on a 24 hour march into the relatively safe northern part of Syria/Rojava, where they received immediate medical attention, food and shelter.

The PKK guerrillas and the fighters from Rojava were the only force on the ground to respond immediately to the crisis preventing further IS massacres in early August. It was also striking that whole women’s units were among them, not just individual female fighters. Especially, as female fighters arouse so much attention. IS fighters were said to be dreading that the door to paradise would be shut to them if they had been killed by a woman.

While such tales have certainly increased the popularity of Kurdish female fighters in the international media – this was even featured in the free paper Metro – the reality is that these women and men who dared to stand up against IS put themselves in a very vulnerable position; they became the primary target of IS. Although they have been the strongest to fight back against IS, only the Peshmergas have been supplied with weapons and included in the US coalition to combat IS.

The PKK and Rojava administration were neither consulted about co-ordinated actions against IS, nor were they supplied with weapons to defend themselves and the population against further IS attacks.  As the founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres Dr Jacques Bérès has stated, the Kurdish women fighting IS have nothing but their “courage and Kalashnikovs”.  Even two months after the IS massacre on Mount Sinjar, it is again the women’s defence force of the PKK who are protecting the civilian population from ongoing IS attacks. They have also vowed to find the thousands of abducted Yezidi girls and women. Swedish politicians joining this campaign have urged the United Nations to investigate and identify the young women who may have been trafficked to other countries.

The ‘Rojava Revolution’ and the Kurds in North Syria

via Facebook

via Facebook

Amid the civil war in Syria and the withdrawal of the Syrian Army in the north of Syria in 2012, the population of Rojava took control of their region and declared a democratic multi-ethnic and multi-religious autonomy similar to the Swiss model with three separate and geographically detached administrative regions or cantons (Kobane, Afrin and Cizire).

Despite economic hardship and a de facto embargo from trade with other parts of Syria, Turkey and KRG, the people of Rojava have been using their newly acquired freedom to experiment with radical democracy. They are applying the Democratic Autonomy project propagated by the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, which is also being embarked upon by the Kurdish movement in North Kurdistan/ Turkey.

Within two years Rojava has witnessed substantial institutional and political changes and for the first time in Syrian history, the communities are governing themselves without the intervention of an authoritarian central government. Referring to these developments as the ‘Rojava Revolution’, the people of Rojava have eagerly been involved in organising their own affairs, from running schools and hospitals to generating electricity and even making their own tanks.

The most visible change has perhaps been the inclusion of women in the defence force and the police as separate units through the establishment of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the Women’s Security Forces (HAJ). According to various estimates, female fighters make up between 7,000 and 10,000 of the Kurdish forces fighting in Syria, representing roughly one third of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in Rojava, the military force that has been set up to defend Rojava.

The empowerment of women has been a key to the Rojava revolution, which explains its popularity particularly among women. A recent report on Rojava commissioned by the London based women’s rights and advocacy group Roj Women, shows that since the self-declared autonomy, Kurdish women have established a dozen women’s unions, associations and committees and have carried out gender awareness campaigns on a large scale in all three cantons.

Among the new regulations instigated to combat gender discrimination are a ban on polygamy for men and underage marriage. Also, unusual for the region, cases of domestic violence are being taken more seriously by being referred directly to the police and courts, while women and their children are provided with temporary safe accommodation. To ensure that women are represented in public offices and in civic life, positive discrimination measures, similar to those practiced within the Kurdish movement in Turkey, are introduced. These include the co-chair system where key decision-making positions are shared by men and women, and the establishment of various women-only bodies making sure that women’s voices and interests are no longer ignored.

Rojava’s model of gender equality borrowed from the Kurdish movement in Turkey and the PKK

Kurdish YPJ forces. Image via Twitter.

Kurdish YPJ forces. Image via Twitter.

Rojava’s model of empowering women is based upon the gender liberation perspective developed by the PKK and applied by the Kurdish movement and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Turkey, which runs the local governments in a number of Kurdish provinces in the South-East of Turkey or Northern Kurdistan.

A strength of the PKK and the Kurdish movement in North Kurdistan has been their criticism of Kurdish society in terms of class and gender inequalities. Women’s participation in the armed struggle and their success as political activists has broken many taboos in Kurdistan as national movements very often do, but it has not stopped there.

While in the 1990s women were mobilised into the Kurdish national movement primarily to support and legitimise the national cause, with the new political shift towards Democratic Autonomy, stronger emphasis has been put on everyday politics and of provoking change from below and within the society rather than waiting for the ‘big revolution’ to happen. The Kurdish movement and the PKK put so much emphasis on women’s liberation, that women’s demands for more power and recognition within the movement could not easily be ignored.

In addition to this, very much to the dismay of many feminists however, the women trusted Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK, in guiding them towards gender liberation. Despite his imprisonment since 1999, it was women who supported him most during the turbulent years following his arrest and the declaration of his new political, and at that time controversial, line. In return Öcalan became more radical in his promotion of gender liberation and urged women within the party to question male dominance within their own ranks.

Thus, the ideological support provided by the PKK and its leader Abdullah Öcalan has helped women within the Kurdish movement in North Kurdistan/Turkey to question and challenge women’s oppression and gender inequalities and many women began to develop a feminist consciousness. They strengthened their position within the legal Kurdish movement and built autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations including women’s assemblies within the pro-Kurdish political parties, women’s centres and associations, a press agency, women’s cooperatives, women’s academies and so on.

Within the guerrilla movement, women also organised as separate and independent units by setting up their own party, the Kurdistan Woman’s Liberation Party (PAJK) and their own guerrilla force (YJA-Star).

Today, women constitute a strong force within the pro-Kurdish parties in Turkey. They have been working initially on low level grass-roots mobilization but have also demanded more recognition for their political work. This has led to the introduction of positive discrimination policies and includes the implementation of a 40 per cent quota of women by the pro-Kurdish parties in Turkey. It ensured that women were elected into local and national governments as councillors, mayors and as members of parliament.

For example in the 2007 national election the pro-Kurdish parties won 21 seats, with a female representation of 38 per cent. This was a significant achievement as the overall female representation in the parliament of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition, the Republican’s Peoples Party (CHP) was only 9 per cent. In the latest local elections in March 2014 in Turkey, only 37 women were elected as mayors (out of a total 1,364), of which over half were women from the pro-Kurdish parties who have applied the women’s quota rigorously. Besides the quota, the pro-Kurdish parties have been applying a pioneering power sharing system since 2009 that allows key decision-making positions within the party to be shared by both men and women. This means that all elected mayors and councillors have a co-chair who share their salary as well as duties and have equal rights of representing their constituency.

This system has been expanded to other civil society organisations embedded within the Kurdish movement. These and other positive discrimination policies have been highly effective in bringing women’s issues to the agenda of Kurdish politics and raising the profile of women in politics more generally. Arguably, Kurdish women’s representation in political positions and parties has become a yardstick for democratization that has challenged other parties in Turkey to follow suit.

Rojava benefited from the political expertise of the PKK and the Kurdish movement in North Kurdistan/Turkey in setting up a self-governing system and in pursuing gender equality initiatives. The Rojava revolution might seem very ambitious, given that no regional or international power has any interest in supporting and maintaining them. Yet, it was their idealism and their belief that diversity in the Middle East is an asset rather than a problem that led them to take responsibility and to go to Mount Sinjar to rescue the besieged civilian population. Their vision of self-rule and their success in building political capacity has enabled Rojava to become a relatively stable and secure region, offering tens of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq, a shelter. This however changed with Rojava becoming the focus of intense IS attacks.

The siege of Kobane

Kurdish YPJ fighter overlooks battlefield. Image via Twitter.

Kurdish YPJ fighter overlooks battlefield. Image via Twitter.

Rojava is now paying the price for taking on IS and for exercising popular self-governance. Despite ongoing US air-strikes on IS strongholds for over three weeks, the Kobane canton of Rojava has been under heavy attack by IS since September 15. The geographical position of Kobane makes it difficult for any outside help from the other cantons and the PKK guerrillas to get through. Its border to the north with Turkey is heavily guarded. The rest of Kobane is encircled by IS. The surrendering of Kobane is most likely to set off another massacre similar to that on Mount Sinjar. Most of the estimated 160,000 inhabitants of Kobane have already fled the area, but for those thousands of residents who have remained in Kobane attempting to defend themselves against IS, the future looks very grim.

An unclassified US memo written by the former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, suggests that Turkey is pushing for a Sunni-Islamic state in Syria, regardless of the demands of much of the opposition for a secular and multi-ethnic federation as suggested by many Syrians and particularly the minorities such as the Christians, Alawites, Druze and Kurds.

Moreover, in the same memo, Turkish officials are reported to have suggested that a future Syrian constitution should be “Without mention of the Kurds and that any Kurdish problems should be resolved through local municipalities”. It is exactly this mentality of denial and the subsequent assimilation policies of the Turkish state – and similarly that of Iraq, Syria and Iran – that led to the uprisings of the Kurds in the region, causing the loss of over 40,000 lives in the conflict in Turkey alone.

Thus, despite being besieged by IS in Kobane, the Kurds in Rojava deeply mistrust any Turkish military intervention, not least because they accuse Turkey of actively supporting IS by allowing them to cross the border back and forth. For Turkey, struggling with concessions for their own Kurdish population, an autonomous Rojava run by Kurds affiliated to the PKK is an absolute no. A Turkish intervention in Rojava would not only threaten the autonomy of Rojava, which represents a model for the PKK in Turkey, but would also threaten the peace process with its own Kurds in Turkey.

Democracy in action in the Middle East

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via Facebook

The autonomous region of Rojava and its unique population is illustration enough of what we have long understood from Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts around the world; that democracy has to come from within. No military intervention from the west or from a third power can teach a country and its citizens how to reconcile differences and build a future together.

Yet, Rojava is being punished for trying to stand on its own feet and for their alliance with the PKK which has helped them ideologically and logistically to set up their own administration as well as with their fight against al-Qaida affiliated groups.

Although the PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation, and has indeed been engaged in violent conflict and has been ruthless at times towards internal opposition, their policies and strategies have changed over the years. Their popularity among the Kurds remains high as they have been leading the struggle for civil liberties, political representation and recognition of cultural rights for the last 30 years or more.

The Democratic Autonomy project has been one of the key political projects of the PKK devised as a long term solution for the Kurdish question in the Middle East. Proposed as an alternative to a separate Kurdish nation state, it focuses on widening democratic forms of participation and developing alternative forms of governance and economy. This moderate political line of the PKK, compared to the 1980s and 1990s, has allowed the Kurdish movement in Turkey to strengthen its legal political struggle and aims to open up negotiations for a peaceful political solution.

A secular, multi-religious and multi-ethnic Rojava with democratic ambitions constitutes a threat for IS and equally for the conservative Islamic government in Turkey. For the west however, which complains about the lack of democracy in the Middle East, what makes them hesitate to support such a progressive movement, one wonders?

This movement has not only been halting the advance of IS but has also providing security and stability in the areas run by them, it has empowered women and built an inclusive form of governance, involving many of the region’s diverse populations such as the Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, and Armenians.

This article appeared in OpenDemocracy.net on October 22, 2014, and is republished here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence.

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Opposite & Equal Reaction

Borrowing from Newton’s 3rd Law of Physics;

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You receive from the world what you give to the world.”

Gary Zukav, Author

The world has held its breath for a month while Kurdish fighting forces within the city of Kobani on the Syria/Turkey border fight for their lives and their city. Turkish troops are massed at the border: not to prevent destruction of Kobani, but to prevent Kurdish people from entering Syria and help defend the city. They are there to cheerlead for Daesch, in so much as Turkey feels less intimidated by ISIL than they do by a continued Kurdish habitation on land inside and close to Turkey .

Today, October 20, the world continued its response. The day began with three C-130 cargo planes dropping 27 bundles of supplies directly into the hands of the Kobani fighters.

In Washington, DC, a native son of Kobani began a hunger strike in Dupont Circle to call attention to the Kobani issue. He was joined by Kurdish supporters and westerners that believe enough is enough. The group has also started a petition, which they invite the world to sign.

In New York City, a concert of solidarity took place at the Elebash Recital Hall at the City University of New York (CUNY). The featured band, DisOrient, has another concert scheduled for October 25 at the Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, at 6:30 pm.

Protests across Turkey, including Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey, have resulted in over 30 deaths since erupting on October 8. Turkish media is not accurately reporting the incidents, downplaying their scope and magnitude.

Protests across Europe continue as the millions of dispersed Kurds across the globe call attention to the plight of their people.

What is the meaning of Kobani? What is the meaning of surviving the odds, defying predictions and remaining resilient?

We have long believed that the decision to do nothing is, within itself, a decision. We also believe it would be in the best interests of history and humanity for the United States to remove the terrorist label placed on the PKK and open talks for diplomacy. We believe Turkey has misrepresented the intentions, scope, purpose and cause of the PKK to the world. This is the same PKK that has demonstrated in recent weeks its ability to work cohesively with respectful forces to save the lives of innocent people from a REAL terrorist organization.

We also believe Turkey’s call for a buffer zone across the Rojava region is an attempt to use the crisis in Kobani to further their agenda of ridding Kurds from their and neighboring countries. This area has been governed with the Constitution of the Rojava Cantons, a document that is a testament to a social contract, and does not need a buffer zone instituted by Turkey, or any other country.

Occupy World Writes calls on support from the world over to continue for Kobani. We stand in solidarity with those who have taken action in whatever way they can to help.

Image via Twitter.

Image via Twitter.

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CALL FOR ACTION

Coalition forces bomb from above while Kurdish fighters defend the town of Kobane. Image via Facebook.

Coalition forces bomb from above while Kurdish fighters defend the town of Kobane. Image via Facebook.

While we continue to watch the most valiant warriors defend the town of Kobane on the Syrian border with Turkey while the rest of the world hears Erdogan proclaim that Kobane will fall. There are those who are doing all they can, such as a group of researchers, scholars and academia associates have taken action to call for immediate intervention.

The Kurdish Studies Network is a group of over 1,000 members who research and study the issues, ideas and history that surround the Kurdish people, their continued struggle for autonomy and nationalism and the impacts of the diaspora on the Kurds.

As is often the case, scholarly people seldom speak out regarding current events and world affairs. When they choose to do so, one must recognize the importance of the message as well as the urgency which brought the action. Here is their statement on Kobane (Kobani in Kurdish):

Kurdish Studies Scholars’ Statement of Solidarity and Call for Action to Support Kobani

The humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State (IS) continues to terrorize and displace hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. The autonomous canton of Kobani is now bearing the brunt of the IS’s attacks as the international community has mostly been passive. The city has been under siege for three weeks. Despite fierce resistance by the defenders of the town, the advance of the IS forces towards Kobani is threatening to set off another massacre similar to that of Shengal. As scholars working on issues related to the Kurds and other peoples of Kurdistan, we are profoundly concerned about yet another imminent humanitarian crisis and stand in solidarity with the people of Kobani. We urgently call on the coalition forces against the IS and the broader international community to take immediate action to prevent an impending disaster by supporting the Kurds in their fight for self-defense.

We view the situation in Kobani as one of self-defense against the military aggression of the IS, notorious for its macabre forms of violence against ethnic and religious minorities. The defenders of the city of Kobani have repeatedly and desperately tried to bring their predicament to the attention of the world community and called for more focused and effective air strikes against IS targets around Kobani in coordination with the political authorities and resistance fighters of Rojava (Western Kurdistan). They are once again asking for diplomatic and political recognition, weapons of self-defense, and humanitarian aid to protect themselves against the relentless onslaught of IS. They are too ill-equipped to be able to fend off the most advanced American and Russian arsenals used by the IS. If global support is not provided immediately, they may not be able to withstand the IS’s incessant bombardments; tomorrow may be too late.

We fully support Kobani’s demands and spirit of self-defense and call on the international coalition forces and the broader international community to support Kobani immediately. In expressing our solidarity, we need to stress the fact this statement is not a call for any military aggression or occupation, including that of the Turkish military. We encourage the Turkish government to negotiate with the Kurdish representatives in good faith to ensure the ongoing peace process, which holds much promise. As Kurdish political representatives of Rojava have repeatedly declared, if they are recognized as a legitimate authority and provided with the needed weaponry and other support, they are capable of driving away the threat of the IS.

Ultimately our appeal for extending the necessary support to Kobani has as much to do with the survival of a pluralistic city and its residents, as it has to do with the defense of freedom everywhere else.

* * *

Kurdish Studies Network began their statement with 299 signatories and they now invite all academia people throughout the world to endorse their statement by signing a petition on Change.org. You can add your name to the petition here:
https://www.change.org/p/international-community-scholars-statement-of-solidarity-and-call-for-action-to-support-kobani

This is not the first time this group has taken action. Most recently, they were instrumental in bringing international attention to the Kurdish prisoners held in Turkey’s prison system, who began a hunger strike as a last resort to call attention to their plight.

The hunger strike started on September 12, 2012 by 65 prisoners convicted of belonging to outlawed Kurdish parties. The hunger strikers demanded Kurdish language rights in education and in court, where language barriers prevented Kurdish speaking accused the ability to defend themselves. The petition played an important role in drawing international attention to the hunger strikes of the political prisoners in Turkey. The hunger strike ended on its 68th day. The petition read as follows:

Prisoners will begin to die soon. Every second is valuable.

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the situation and condition of hunger strikers in Turkish prisons. We understand that over 700 Kurdish political prisoners have passed their 46th day on hunger strike, without their demands being addressed by the authorities. Medical experts confirm that in the course of a hunger strike the 40th day is a turning point where physical and mental dysfunctions commence, as well as cases of death begin to occur.

According to international conventions signed by the Republic of Turkey, the government is in charge of a prisoner’s health. As top-ranking members of the government, the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice will personally be held responsible for any damage to the prisoners’ physical condition.

Furthermore, the prisoners’ demands consist primarily of the right to defense in mother tongue and freeing Abdullah Öcalan from solitary confinement. We would like to express our full support of these demands since they are based on fundamental human rights.

We therefore urge the Turkish government to enter in constructive dialogue with the prisoners to respond to their demands.

The international community’s opinion on Turkey and its reform process will be strongly shaped by the way the present hunger strikes are handled and the prisoners are treated. Turkey’s reputation might be seriously harmed should this incident turn into a human tragedy.

* * *

 Occupy World Writes stands in Solidarity with Kurdish Studies Network’s statement, all those who choose to sign it, and all those known and unknown people who are doing whatever they possibly can to help this crisis.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING.

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Disingenuous Behavior

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In yesterday’s post, we talked about what’s been happening recently in Kobane and the utter failure of the U.S. media in covering it. We discussed the protests in Europe over the lack of support for the Kurds, and we talked about the Turkish government’s criminal behavior in regards to Kobane and the Kurdish refugees fleeing the area.

Yesterday, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse Kurdish protesters as unrest spread to at least six Turkish cities. At least eighteen people died in the unrest. This violent reaction to protests is nothing new for the  Erdoğan government, as Human Rights Watch pointed out in a recent report.

Why the protests? It’s because of Turkey’s actions (or to be more precise, the lack of action) in the coalition against Daesh. The Turkish government last week won parliamentary approval for military action against Daesh inside Syria, but Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says this will only happen if “others do their own part:” in other words, if the international coalition moves against the Assad regime, and not just Daesh.

However, given Turkey’s history of animosity towards the Kurdish population, we have to wonder if the Turks are just letting the Daesh exterminate the Kurds before they make any move towards countering the threat they pose. Right now, the Turkish army sits on the Syrian border watching utter destruction take place in Kobane. They aren’t making any move towards Kobane; in fact, they aren’t allowing the Kurdish refugees from that area cross the border, but instead are forcing them back towards the Daesh. A curfew has been instituted in the Kurdish regions and cities of Turkey in response to this crisis.

The Human Rights watch report states, ironically enough, that one of the positive things happening in Turkey in regards to human rights is the government’s negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkey’s publicly stated vs actual stance on dealing with the PKK is disingenuous, to put it mildly.

But the MOST DISINGENUOUS insistence by the Turkish government to attempt using this crisis to further their elimination of the “Kurdish problem” within Turkey, a plan which has been enacted and practiced on for well over 30 years. Turkey wants to establish a no-fly zone and a “security” zone in the Rojava region of Syria, the only part of Assad’s country that, until the emergence of Daesch, remained stable because it is controlled by the Kurdish population within Syria.

If you are confused, you are not alone. The following plea is urgent and explains things better than we can. The importance of its message can not be over stated. Considor what you can do to help save Kobane. Contact information is included at the end. ACT TODAY, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

Urgent Call: Stand Against Demands for a Buffer/Security Zone Between Turkey and Syria

Kobanê, one of the three autonomous Kurdish enclaves in Northern Syria, on the border with Turkey, is once again under attack by the IS. The Islamic State (IS – formerly known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has besieged Kobanê on three separate fronts and is at the moment shelling the city relentlessly.

The border between Syria and Turkey is a straight line that runs mainly through flat plains.  A tank or armoured car can sail through these plains with no difficulty.  The plain is inhabited by peoples of diverse ethnic or religious background: Arab tribes, Yezidis, Syriac Christians, Armenians and Kurds.  Many of the Kurds are relatives of Kurds on the Turkish side of the border and have been in constant interaction in the past. Kurds had been living in Syria without any formal citizenship status.  After the start of the uprising in Syria, they declared their autonomy in July, 2012.  These autonomous zones are small enclaves where the majority population is Kurdish and which are separated from one another by zones inhabited by Arab tribesmen.  Since 2012, the Kurds of Syria have tried to establish a democratic form of self-rule where everyone would be equal, regardless of ethnic or religious identity and of gender.  They have called these enclaves of self-rule Rojava, or The West.  Kobanê is one of these enclaves and, since September 15, the target of fierce attack by IS, armed by superior weapons.

Local observers ranging from international reporters to Kurdish inhabitants of the region and the Kurdish forces of Kobanê have regularly claimed that the Turkish-Syrian border is systematically transgressed by the IS.  They obtain, it is said, personnel and ammunition from supply routes through Turkey.  This has led them to conclude that Turkey is using the IS to clean the region of its Kurdish inhabitants.

The Turkish government has, since the inception of the Syrian civil war, made no effort to hide its opposition to the Assad government and has provided support to various Islamic groups fighting in the Free Syrian Army.  It is now claiming that the best way to fight Assad and the IS, is to establish a buffer/security zone between Turkey and Syria.  This zone can be in no other place than in Rojava.

We, the women from the Women’s Initiative for Peace see this proposal as a disingenuous move to kill many birds with one stone. The Turkish state has initiated a peace process with the Kurdish guerrilla forces (the PKK – Kurdistan Workers’ Party) with which it has been waging what it called a ‘low intensity war’ for over thirty years. In spite of talks between the Turkish state and the imprisoned leader of the guerrillas, the government of Turkey has been refusing to honour the agreements they have reached and does not take the steps necessary for the peace process to go forward, steps which the Kurdish side has been waiting for, for more than a year. It is in this atmosphere that we now see the state of Turkey at best allowing the IS to raze Kobanê to the ground and proposing a buffer zone which will allow the declaration of Rojava as an empty land.  According to the Kurds, this is another way of fighting a dirty war against the Kurds, another way of not recognizing the will of the Kurdish people.  They say talking to the Kurds in the north (Turkey) while fighting those in the West (Kobanê) means ending the peace process and the ceasefire that has lasted almost two years.

We, women, want the Turkish state to honour its pledges.  We do not want the peace process to end.  As women, we know that war targets women and that women pay a very high price during war.  Turning overnight into refugees, women have crossed the Rojava border and flocked into Turkey, a country that does not grant legal refugee status to persons arrivingfrom its southern borders.  Refugee camps, forced resettlement, the declaration of their homes as empty land is the bleak future that Rojava women now face.

This future need not come to be.  Lobby your government, lobby the Turkish government, and lobby the UN. We are sending attached template emails/fax that you can send to the UN and the Turkish government.  Do not let them establish a buffer zone in Rojava. Tell them:

Rojava is not empty.
Kurds have a government there.
Not having a state should not mean not having a home.
Stop the forced eviction of Kurds from yet another of their homelands.

Please send the attached letters to the Turkish government and to the United Nations.

Addresses for the United Nations:

Ban Ki Moon, fax: 1 (212) 963 4879; email: bkm@un.org

UNHCR, fax: (41) 22 739 7377; email: hunbu@unhcr.org, swest@unhcr.org, furley@unhcr.org

UNICEF, fax: 1 (212) 887 7465/7454

WHO, fax: (41) 22 791 0746

Adresses for the Turkish govt:

E-mail:assembly@tbmm.gov.tr

 

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THIS IS NO WAY TO PEACE!!!

Kurdish fighters of the 'Women's Defense Units' (YPJ) in Rojava, West Kurdistan/Northern Syria. Image via Tumblr.

Kurdish fighters of the ‘Women’s Defense Units’ (YPJ) in Rojava, West Kurdistan/Northern Syria. Image via Tumblr.

THIS IS NO WAY TO PEACE!!!

WE ARE CALLING UPON YOU TO JOIN US, AS WOMEN, IN SOLIDARITY IN THE NAME OF PEACE, OF KOBANÊ, AND AGAINST OUTRIGHT MASSACRE!

Kobanê, one of the three autonomous Kurdish enclaves (part of Rojava, i.e. Western Kurdistan) in Northern Syria, on the border with Turkey, is once again under attack by IS gangs. The Islamic State (IS – formerly known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has besieged Kobanê on three separate fronts. And the world has been watching.  Kobanê is not a state, its declaration of autonomy is not recognized by the international community and yet people live and die there. This most recent war machine has been unleashed upon us by international actors, as part of a design to reshape the entire region in line with their interests. It is also aided and abetted by the state of Turkey; and, as such, is now the main fire power in the attempt to destroy this autonomous zone set up by Kurdish people and, along with it, hopes for a different form of governance in the region. It is also thus threatening to end the peace process between the government of Turkey and the Kurdish guerrilla forces (the PKK – Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

As war is once again mounting, right on the south of the Turkish border, many have been killed, and thousands have been forced to migrate. But resistance against these attacks also continues with increasing participation, as people flock to defend this ideal of free, autonomous governance. The state of Turkey, on the other hand, has been lobbying internationally for the establishment of a buffer zone where the Kurdish autonomous region currently exists. We want the world to know that Rojava, the Kurdish zone in Northern Syria, is NOT empty land; and that hundreds of thousands of people have NOT left their homes to flee into Turkey. These numbers have been grossly exaggerated by the state of Turkey, in efforts to make the world believe this land is deserted, and can be made into a buffer zone, controlled by international soldiers rather than the people of Rojava. This is yet another attempt to shape the region according to powerful interests.

Moreover, women are once again in the middle of this war; they have been forced out of their homes, and their bodies have been made into battlefields. Women have also taken up arms to defend their families and these lands they call home; and they now call upon each and every one of us to rise up against this atrocity, and to stand with them.

We, women who hear and wish to respond to this call, do so with the awareness that the IS, and the mentality of the international powers that support and have created it pose a direct threat to all of us, to all of our bodies as women anywhere in this world. At the same time, we realize that this attack targets the peace process in Turkey, as well as the ideal of peace in this entire region, and the world at large. Moving the war to the south of the border is no way to peace! A mentality that collaborates with the IS, which sells women in areas it conquers as slaves, is no way to peace! This is why we need to build a world-wide women’s solidarity for a peace in which our voices are heard, for all of our sakes, against this mentality that legitimizes slaughtering and enslaving women!

In order to voice our demand for peace more powerfully, we came together as numerous women’s organisations and women from political parties and mass organisations in Turkey. We are now calling on ALL women’s organisations struggling for peace world-wide to launch actions, organize demonstrations, simultaneously with us on Sunday, September 28 (and if this date is too early, any time before or on October 1) wherever you are located. Whilst so many international scenarios are being played out in the Middle East, geographical distance unfortunately cannot mean being on outside of this war. These attacks target all women, around the world. Hence, wherever you are, please organize some kind of action addressing the UN, the Turkish government, or your own governments! And please let us know at bariskadingirisimi@gmail.comHelp augment our voices against this massacre, against this international plan to vacate Rojava and end all efforts to build peace! Add your strength to ours in this struggle for peace!

EDITORIAL NOTE: This post is republished without edits.
Please consider what YOU can do to support this action.

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