Afrin: Sign-on statement

As concerned Australians, we condemn Turkey’s invasion of the mainly Kurdish canton of Afrin in northern Syria, and demand that the Australian Government do all in its power to protest and stop Turkey’s brazen criminal aggression.

Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that Kurdish forces in northern Syria are terrorists and pose a threat to Turkey. In fact the Syrian Kurds and their allies were instrumental in crushing the Islamic State, repulsing the real terrorists at Kobanê and more recently liberating Raqqa, at the cost of the lives of thousands of young YPG and YPJ fighters. Theirs was a victory for all humanity, and the world owes them a huge debt of gratitude.

Afrin has been one of the most stable and secure regions in Syria, taking in enormous numbers of refugees from the war with very little international aid. It has established a strong system of democratic and pluralist government and implemented very real freedoms for women. It poses no threat whatsoever to Turkey, except in the example it gives to the world on how democracy, tolerance and women’s’ rights can be achieved in the Middle East.

We therefore call on the Australian Government to —

  • Immediately recall its Ambassador from Ankara until such time as Turkey ceases all military action and withdraws its own and all proxy forces.
  • Summon the Turkish Ambassador in Canberra to express its concerns in the strongest possible terms.
  • Establish an immediate ban on all contact and cooperation between Australian and Turkish military and security personnel.
  • Encourage its Western allies to protest Turkey’s illegal military action and to take immediate, concrete and effective steps to guarantee Afrin’s stability and security.
  • Use all means available to it at the United Nations to ensure the world body fulfils its mandate of peace, stability and protection for all people in the Middle East.

Selected endorsements
1 Paul Adams, President, NTEU Victoria Division, VIC
2 Alex Bainbridge, National co-convenor, Socialist Alliance, QLD
3 John Birmingham, Author, QLD
4 Sue Bolton, Councillor, City of Moreland, VIC
5 Bob Briton, General Secretary, Communist Party of Australia, SA
6 Sam Castro, Whistle Blowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance, VIC
7 Pamela Curr, Refugee advocate, VIC
8 Samantha Dunn, Australian Greens, Member of the Legislative Council, Victoria, VIC
9 Paul Elliott, Secretary, Medical Scientists Association of Victoria, VIC
10 Mehreen Faruqi, Greens NSW, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
11 Sujatha Fernandes, Professor, University of Sydney, NSW
12 Carole Ferrier, Professor, University of Qld, QLD
13 Pas Forgione, Coordinator Anti-Poverty Network (SA), SA
14 Michele Grossman, Professor, Research Chair, Deakin University , VIC
15 Drew Hutton, Environmental campaigner, QLD
16 Stephen Jolly, Socialist councillor, City of Yarra, VIC
17 Mahmut Kahraman, Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria, VIC
18 Ged Kearney, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions, VIC
19 Anthony Kelly, Human rights advocate, VIC
20 Damien Kingsbury, Professor, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC
21 Michael Leach, Professor, Swinburne University of Technology, VIC
22 Gina Lennox, Co-chair, Kurdish Lobby Australia, Researcher & writer, NSW
23 Jenny Leong, Greens NSW, State member for Newtown, NSW
24 Colin Long, Victorian Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union, VIC
25 Kirsty Mac, Feminist activist & comedian, VIC
26 Maritime Union of Australia (Sydney branch), NSW
27 Roger Markwick, Professor, University of Newcastle, NSW
28 Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, NTEU, VIC
29 Craig McGregor, Secretary, Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association, VIC
30 Godfrey Moase, Assistant General Branch Secretary, NUW, VIC
31 Jamie Parker, Greens NSW, State member for Balmain, NSW
32 Sue Pennicuik, Australian Greens, Member of the Legislative Council, Victoria, VIC
33 Susan Price, National co-convenor, Socialist Alliance, NSW
34 Stuart Rees, Professor, University researcher, NSW
35 Lee Rhiannon, Senator, Australian Greens, NSW
36 John Safran, Writer, VIC
37 Lynne Segal, Professor, University of London, NSW
38 David Shoebridge, Greens NSW, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
39 Ron Slee, State Secretary NTEU, SA
40 Warren Smith, MUA Assistant National Secretary, NSW
41 Jeff Sparrow, Broadcaster, VIC
42 Nina Springle, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, MLC, VIC
43 Jonathan Sri, Australian Greens, Brisbane City Councillor, QLD
44 Rob Stary, Civil liberties lawyer, VIC
45 Joe Szakacs, Secretary SA Unions, SA
46 Ismet Tastan, Democratic Kurdish Community Centre of NSW, NSW
47 Tim Thorne, Poet, TAS
48 Huong Truong, Australian Greens, Member of the Legislative Council, VIC
49 John Tully, Honorary professor, Victoria University, VIC
50 Colin Vernon, Secretary, Geelong Trades Hall, VIC
51 Sam Wainright, Socialist Alliance councillor, Fremantle City, WA
52 Brian Walters, Barrister, VIC
53 Andrew Wilkie, Federal MP, Independent member for Denison, TAS
54 Jacinda Woodhead, Editor, Overland magazine, VIC
55 Arnold Zable, Writer, VIC

For full list & to add your endorsement, see separate page.