[Speech by Dave Holmes at a solidarity vigil in Melbourne, October 16, 2019.]
We are here to protest Turkey’s cruel and inhuman invasion of Rojava — the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
There is no reason for this war except Turkish president Erdogan’s racist hatred of the Kurdish people. He wants to crush any expression of Kurdish self-rule. Erdogan wants to mobilise extreme right-wing, racist and Islamist forces behind his presidential re-election bid next year.
It is utter rubbish to claim that Turkey has legitimate “security concerns”. Rojava has been a perfect neighbour, simply wanting to be left in peace. In any case, how could a country of several million people threaten Turkey with its 80 million and its huge army (the second-biggest in NATO)?
However, Rojava believes in grassroots democracy and all ethnic and religious communities living together amicably and cooperatively. Rojava believes in women’s equal rights in society and has implemented this with a passion that “advanced” Australia could learn a lot from. All this is anathema to Erdogan and threatens his regime’s grip on Turkey.
Erdogan wants to settle the Syrian Kurdish question once and for all by crushing Rojava and settling millions of Syrian Arab refugees on their lands. The refugees should be able to return but they largely came from other parts of Syria and the obstacle to their return is the Assad regime, not Rojava.
The US is responsible for Turkey’s invasion. Trump gave Erdogan the green light. This takes appeasement of dictators to new lows.
The European Union has demanded that Turkey stop and withdraw. But words are cheap. Only actions count here. It is up to France and Germany to act — and act quickly and decisively.
Turkey’s invasion will allow the Islamic State barbarians to rise again. Indeed, Turkey has enrolled some of the Islamist gangs in its invasion force. They are busy doing what they do best — committing atrocities. The female Kurdish leader of the Future Syria Party, Havrin Khalaf, was taken from her vehicle on Saturday and summarily executed on the roadside by Turkey’s Islamist killers.
The Rojava defence forces have been forced to make a deal with the lesser evil of the Assad regime and its Russian backers. Syrian army units are moving up to the border but whether they will seriously confront the Turkish invasion remains to be seen.
Yet again, it is up to ordinary people around the world to stand up and force their governments to put real pressure on Turkey to halt its invasion and withdraw from Syria.
We demand that: The Australian government end all military and security cooperation with Turkey and push at the United Nations to condemn the Turkish invasion, and secure emergency aid for the refugees forced to flee. We demand that the US establish a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
Long live the Rojava Revolution!
Long live the people’s resistance!