Turkish president Erdoğan announced that in a few days he will invade the rest of the predominantly Kurdish region in northern Syria. After unjustly occupying the region between Jarabulus and Azaz in 2016, followed by Afrin at the beginning of this year, Erdoğan now also wants to invade the Kurdish region east of the Euphrates. European governments cannot sit by quietly!
The Kurdish militias and their Arab, Assyrian, Turkmen,… and other allies contained in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fought bravely and already suffered thousands of martyrs in the war against Islamic State. With IS almost defeated, the Turkish army decided to attack the SDF. The West cannot stand by idly now their best ally in the fight against IS and other jihadist terrorist groups is being attacked by the Turkish authoritarian regime.
Turkey conquered the predominantly Kurdish areas in the north with the support of numerous extremist jihadist militias. These militias committed numerous atrocities and human rights violations against the Kurdish population of Afrin, including looting and expropriation of the local population. Erdoğan wants to use Afrin to resettle predominantly Arab refugees from other parts of Syria, while obstructing the local population to return, thus changing the demographics of the region. This all comes down to ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people.
Meanwhile, Turkey is already occupying great parts of northern Syria and implements this with a rapid Turkification, which shows they are not planning to leave these parts and give them back any time soon. It is clear that the annexation of Syrian territory is a serious violation of international law.
In sharp contrast with these actions, the Kurds and their allies are striving for a grassroots democratic society where friendship between the peoples and women’s rights play a central role. The West should realize that – with IS almost defeated – it is not only unjust, but also unwise to let these progressive forces get butchered by an autocrat and his jihadist mercenaries, for a project of ethnic cleansing and neo-Ottoman expansionism.
We call our politicians to do everything they can to counter this new war of annexation and show their dissatisfaction to the Turkish embassy.
The Kurds and their allies have sacrificed their lives to claim victory over the Islamic State, we cannot abandon them now in these crucial moments.
We ask Belgium, the EU and the international community:
- To condemn the war of annexation of the Turkish regime
- To take urgent measures to end the Turkish aggression
- To put an end to the arms trade with Turkey
- To respect the territory of Syria and to pressure Turkey to retreat its forces from the north of Syria.
- To commence diplomatic initiatives that result in a durable and stabile ceasefire and political peace negotiations.
Les Ateliers du Soleil
Jan Béghin, former Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Interparliamentary Working Group The Kurds (IPWK)
Hugo Van Rompaey, honorary senator and honorary mayor, with 17 years of research experience on the Kurdish issue and 11 scientific publications on the subject
European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (The EAFJD)
Le Comité de Défense de la Cause Arménienne de Belgique (CDCA Belgique)