For Immediate Release: 7 February 2018
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, has joined Noam Chomsky and leading academics, including Judith Butler of U.C. Berkeley, Michael Hardt of Duke, Michael Walzer of Princeton, David Graeber of the London School of Economics, and a number of politicians, union leaders, and human rights activists from Argentina to Italy in calling for Russia, Iran and the United States to stop Turkish aggression toward the peaceful enclave of Afrin in northern Syria. The statement, initially signed by 15 prominent academics and supporters of the Kurds, has quickly grown to include more than 100 additional signatories from leading universities and institutions across Europe and the United States.
Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his assault on Afrin on January 20, 2018, Turkish warplanes have bombed civilians, forcing people into basements and caves to avoid airstrikes. They have destroyed medical and aid facilities, including the headquarters of the Kurdish Red Crescent in Afrin. They have crushed historical sites that illustrate the rich past of Northern Syria’s peoples. They have employed jihadist gangs that have promised to “kill every atheist Kurd in Afrin” and whose presence makes Christians and Yezidis fear more massacres like those committed by ISIS. More than 100 civilians have been killed and more than 150 injured, mostly women and children. More than 5000 people have been displaced.
The attack by Erdogan, “is a blatant act of aggression against a peaceful and democratically-governed region and population,” the signatories said, noting that such an act of aggression can only be carried out by Turkey with the approval of the U.S., Russia and Iran. “The U.S and international community have a moral obligation to stand behind the Kurdish people now. We call on U.S. officials and the international community to guarantee Afrin’s stability and security and prevent further Turkish aggression from within Syria and across the Syrian border.”
The appeal, presented to U.S. senators and congressmen, asks that they reject Erdogan’s false characterization of the Syrian Kurdish forces as “terrorists” and intervene to protect the Kurds who have been our greatest partners in defeating ISIS and who have taken several hundred thousand internally displaced persons into Afrin alone during the course of the Syrian war. One of several appeals now circulating in Europe and the U.S., it is hoped that world leaders will address the call of these academic experts and human rights activists to bring a halt to Erdogan’s unprovoked shelling of Afrin and denounce the unilateral violence that is evidence of his increasingly genocidal behavior toward the Kurds. See full statement attached below.