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 Damien Kingsbury, Professor, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC
20 Michael Leach, Professor, Swinburne University of Technology, VIC
21 Gina Lennox, Co-chair, Kurdish Lobby Australia, Researcher & writer, NSW
22 Jenny Leong, Greens NSW, State member for Newtown, NSW
23 Colin Long, Victorian Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union, VIC
24 Kirsty Mac, Feminist activist & comedian, VIC
25 Maritime Union of Australia (Sydney branch), NSW
26 Roger Markwick, Professor, University of Newcastle, NSW
27 Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, NTEU, VIC
28 Craig McGregor, Secretary, Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association, VIC
29 Godfrey Moase, Assistant General Branch Secretary, NUW, VIC
30 Jamie Parker, Greens NSW, State member for Balmain, NSW
31 Sue Pennicuik, Australian Greens, Member of the Legislative Council, Victoria, VIC
32 Susan Price, National co-convenor, Socialist Alliance, NSW
33 Stuart Rees, Professor, University researcher, NSW
34 Lee Rhiannon, Senator, Australian Greens, NSW
35 John Safran, Writer, VIC
36 Lynne Segal, Professor, University of London, NSW
37 David Shoebridge, Greens NSW, Member of the Legislative Council, NSW
38 Ron Slee, State Secretary NTEU, SA
39 Warren Smith, MUA Assistant National Secretary, NSW
40 Jeff Sparrow, Broadcaster, VIC
41 Nina Springle, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, MLC, VIC
42 Jonathan Sri, Australian Greens, Brisbane City Councillor, QLD
43 Rob Stary, Civil liberties lawyer, VIC
44 Joe Szakacs, Secretary SA Unions, SA
45 Ismet Tastan, Democratic Kurdish Community Centre of NSW, NSW
46 Tim Thorne, Poet, TAS
47 Huong Truong, Australian Greens, Member of the Legislative Council, VIC
48 John Tully, Honorary professor, Victoria University, VIC
49 Colin Vernon, Secretary, Geelong Trades Hall, VIC
50 Sam Wainright, Socialist Alliance councillor, Fremantle City, WA
51 Brian Walters, Barrister, VIC
52 Andrew Wilkie, Federal MP, Independent member for Denison, TAS
53 Jacinda Woodhead, Editor, Overland magazine, VIC
54 Arnold Zable, Writer, VIC

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