Contact Details: 11 Portland Gardens, Fairfax Hall, Londond, N4 1HU. Phone: 0208 8880 1804

Contact Details: 11 Portland Gardens Fairfax Hall, Londond, N4 1HU 0208 8880 1804


During Turkish President Erdogan’s visit to Britain, the British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her support for Turkey and said that Erdogan was seeking to defend his country from ‘the extraordinary pressures of a failed coup and Kurdish terrorism’. This designation of ‘Kurdish terrorism’ is exactly the formulation that Erdogan uses to legitimise the Turkish states’ war on the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. This is a designation that we utterly and categorically condemn. The Kurds far from being terrorists have been Britain’s staunch allies against the scourge of the terrorism of ISIS, providing the boots on the ground in the Middle East and paying a heavy personal price for the freedom of us all . The Metropolitan Police has however brought Turkey’s war to the streets of London, using police dogs and horses to threaten people and arrest some 16 or so people in Whitehall, who were protesting at Erdogan’s visit to Downing Street. Kurds, and their supporters, in Britain are being criminalised as they are in Turkey.

Erdogan described Britain as ‘an ally and a strategic partner, but also a real friend…The cooperation we have is well beyond any mechanism we have established with other partners’. Almost everywhere he went during his 13 to 15 May state visit to Britain, President Erdogan was met with placards reading ‘Taman (enough) Erdogan not welcome’. Erdogan intended to use the visit to bolster his campaign for the 24 June elections in Turkey; when his credibility is vanishing, at home and abroad, the British government was willing to give Erdogan its backing. Erdogan commenced his visit with a meeting near Reading, hosted by BAE Systems and BP. BAE Systems has a contract worth £100m to develop fighter jets for the Turkish Air Force. Now Rolls Royce is looking to provide engines for the planes. Turkey is described as a ‘priority market’ for arms exports by the British government.

Under Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading members of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including its presidential election candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, have been imprisoned, 140,000 people have been arrested, most of these imprisoned, 152,000 people have been sacked and over 160 journalists have been jailed. Turkey jails more media employees than any other country in the world. All of these victims of Erdogan’s rule are accused of terrorism. Turkey is waging war on the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. President Erdogan has rejected the attempts of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. If the British government has no respect for democracy in Turkey or for the rights of Kurdish people in Britain, and if it has no morality beyond its pursuit of arms sales and profits, then it must be exposed and challenged. Defence of the Kurdish people is critical for the prospects of peace and the advance of democracy in the Middle East and for human rights in Britain.

16 May 2018