Stop bombing the Kurds
Thursday 30th July 2015
Activists, MPs, trade unionists and campaigners call on Turkey to stop its renewed aggression against the Kurdish people
WE have watched with increasing alarm and frustration as the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurds has stalled and been brought to a halt.
Just a few months ago talks between Turkish officials and jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan promised to herald a historic breakthrough in the protracted conflict.
We believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had deserved credit for enabling these talks to go ahead with a view to finding a lasting resolution to the decades-long conflict which has brought incalculable damage to Turkish and Kurdish communities alike and needlessly claimed thousands of lives on both sides.
But recently, and at least since the run-up to Turkey’s June general election, President Erdogan has abruptly changed track and allowed himself to become embroiled in a reckless gamble that sees him playing with the country’s future.
He has stood accused of putting the peace process on hold and even of terminating it for political gain. The consequences of such a move would be to reignite the conflict and this can only be utterly catastrophic for the country and its future generations.
We share the fears expressed by the Kurds about Turkey’s repeated threats of military intervention across the border in Syria.
The stated intention to establish a buffer zone really appears designed to destabilise the fledgling democracy in the regions of Rojava liberated by the Syrian Kurds, rather than contribute towards a resolution of the crisis in Syria.
In addition, Turkey has been highly ambiguous in its attitude to Isis, with evidence that it is sheltering and supplying weapons to Isis fighters. The Turkish state has clearly been using Isis to undermine the gains of the Kurds in places like Kobane.
The opportunity for peace still exists and should not be squandered. President Erdogan can still facilitate it by showing true leadership, but this involves vision and magnanimity.
The possibility of securing a lasting peace would be a historic gain for Turkey, the Kurds and the entire Middle East region.
In fact the whole world has a stake in seeing Turkey at peace.
The leaders of Turkey need to recognise the importance of the choices that lie ahead: either grasp the chance for peace or reignite a conflict with no end in sight.
The results of the Turkish general election gave hope for peace when the pro-Kurdish HDP made historic gains and broke through the 10 per cent obstacle to achieve representation in the country’s parliament.
The HDP fought the election on a clear and unambiguous platform of support for the peace talks between Turkey and the Kurds.
The support that the party received was an endorsement of the peace process.
The party’s success inspires all those who want to see Turkey achieve a more democratic and pluralistic society founded on peace and reconciliation.
The Kurds have been calling for the restarting of the peace process. We believe that it is time for Turkey to reciprocate and opt for peace over conflict.
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
John Berger, novelist
Derek Wall, international co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales
Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer in Political Sociology, Cambridge University
Melanie Gingell, barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
Bronwen Jones, barrister, Mansfield Chambers
John Hunt, journalist and writer
Sean Hawkey, photojournalist and Green Party member
Dr Austin Reid, consultant in international university development
Hywel Williams MP
Elfyn Llwyd, former MP, Plaid Cymru
Essa Moosa, Judge of the High Court of South Africa and Cape Town and Chair of the International Peace and Reconciliation Commission
David Graeber, Prof of Anthropology at London School of Economics and author
Jonathan Bloch, author
Margaret Owen, human rights lawyer and director of the international NGO Widows for Peace though Democracy
Dr Radha D’Souza, global justice scholar and democratic rights campaigner
Mike Mansfield QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Baroness Jenny Jones, Green Party
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party
Jean Lambert MEP
Dr Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow, Open University
Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Pax Christi
Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Louise Christian, lawyer, Vice-President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Frances Webber, Vice-President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Mary Davis, visiting professor at Royal Holloway University of London
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Trevor Rayne, Lecturer in Public Service Management and Economics
Dr Michael M.Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennesse Technical University
Dr Kariane Westrheim, Associate Professor University of Bergen, Norway
Nick Hildyard, policy adviser
Dr Andy Higginbottom, Associate Professor, International Politics and Human Rights
Zaher Baher, Kurdistan Anarchists Forum
Yvo Fitzherbert, Istanbul-based journalist
Liz Davies, barrister, Vice-President Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Catrin Lewis, barrister
Sarah Parker, human rights campaigner
Stephen Smellie, South Lanarkshire UNISON
James Kelman, novelist
Dr Johanna Riha, epidemiologist
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB (personal capacity)
Dr Zeynep Kurban, Physicist at Imperial College London, human rights activist
Rosa Salih, Kurdish Society, Scotland
Isabel Kaser, PhD candidate SOAS
Amin Husain, Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy magazine (tidalmag.org ) & Direct Action Front for Palestine
John Holloway, Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico
Marina Sitrin, Post-doctoral Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center, Author of “Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina”, National Lawyers Guild, US
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, US
Silvia Federici, scholar, author and activist, prof emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University
George Caffentzis, political philosopher and autonomist Marxist, founder of the Midnight Notes Collective
Andrew Ross, cultural studies specialist, directs American Studies Programme at New York University
Andreas Gavriliedis, Greek-Kurdish Solidarity
George Eugeniou, founder and director of Teatro Technis
Eric Lee, LabourStart (personal capacity)
Prof Eleni Palazidou, Consultant Psychiatrist
Jean Lambert MEP
Kate Osamor MP
David Morgan, journalist
Dr Felix Padel, visiting professor, JNU, Delhi
Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Research Fellow, Middlesex University
Eoin Slattery, actor
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
Pete Radcliff, Secretary of Beeston North Labour Party
Cynthia Cockburn, author and activist
Carol Mann PhD Women In War, Think Tank for Gender and Armed Conflict
Khatchatur I Pilikian, Prof. of Music & Art
Paloma Polo, visual artist and independent researcher
Batu Talu, independent researcher
Sheila Mosley, Co-Chair: International Support Kurds in Syria
Tim Cooper, Nottingham Unite Community treasurer and Nottingham Kurdish Solidarity Campaign
Kadim Lacin, Journalist
Penny Papadopoulou, Journalist
Tim Gopsill, editor of Free Press (CPF)
Houzan Mahmoud, Kurdish femininist activist
Maryam Ashrafi, photojournalist
Mithat Ishakoglu, PhD at the University of Exeter
Tony Fisher, Law Society Human Rights committee member
Melanie Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Having reached a deal with the Turkish government to set up a buffer zone inside Syria, ostensibly to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), official Washington has begun debating the rules of engagement for US military forces to intervene against the Syrian military: here.
An ‘Isis-free zone’ is nothing but a road to US mission creep, by Emma Ashford. The US’ involvement in Syria displays no strategy, no boundaries and no clear goals. The only viable long-term solution to Syria’s problems is diplomacy: here.