The immediate reason given by Turkey for its latest military onslaught on the Kurds is the horrific Istanbul bombing which left six people dead and over 80 injured. With indecent haste, the Erdogan government sought to pin the blame for these needless deaths entirely on the Kurds and Kurdish organisations. We regard Turkey’s reaction as sadly predictable, entirely disproportionate and cynically opportunistic.

We must point out straight away that the Kurdish organisations quickly denied any responsibility for the Istanbul bombing and that a full investigation into the incident has not been completed. There is therefore a clear denial from the Kurds, which deserves to be taken seriously, and (as yet) no convincing evidence that any Kurdish groups were in any way responsible; still less the people of Rojava or the PKK. Nevertheless, Turkey has launched a renewed large-scale military offensive against Kurdish villages and positions along the Iraqi and Syrian borders.

It will take time for thorough and transparent investigation into the Istanbul bombing to establish the full facts and find out who was responsible. There is no proof that the Kurds were in any way involved.  There is therefore no valid justification for Turkey’s disproportionate response, which is reckless and hugely destabilising.

It is entirely wrong for anyone ever, including Turkish political leaders, to blame an entire people for the crimes of a small number of individuals. Innocent civilians are never to be seen as legitimate targets.

In bombing Kurdish villages and killing Kurdish civilians across its border in Syria and Iraq, Turkey is employing the barbarous and notorious tactics that were used by the Nazis in the Second World War. That is no exaggeration, and it is not said lightly; it is a historically accurate characterisation of Turkey’s response and a reflection of its aggression against the Kurds, amounting to the criminalising of an entire people, which is a mentality deeply rooted in Turkish history.

Turkey defends its actions by insisting that it has legitimate security concerns and that it is acting entirely in self-defence. But by taking military action it is simply sowing the seeds of future conflict and deepening the animosities between Turks and Kurds who need to find ways of accommodating each other and living together in peace.

Ironically, in claiming to be protecting its own security, Turkey also seems not to care about infringing the security of its neighbours. It is crossing the borders and bombing the territory of these same neighbours.

The root of this problem is that Turkey has never accepted the rights of the Kurds to exercise any of their legitimate political rights. It only grudgingly accepts the existence of the Kurds as a people. It criminalises their leaders and even refuses to speak to them. Ankara has for years sought to destabilise and overthrow Kurdish-run areas in Syria, known as Rojava, which Erdogan has portrayed in the most extremely lurid terms and described as a direct security threat.

Turkey has been continuously engaged in military actions against Kurdish positions for long before the bombing in Istanbul. Turkey’s latest actions are part of a pattern and as such are not simply a response to that one tragic incident a few days ago. Turkey’s response is only adding to the number of innocent lives lost. It must be stopped.

In flexing its military muscles, Turkey is a big power acting as a big aggressive bully, flouting international law and putting regional stability at risk.

As a close ally of Turkey, we call upon the UK Government to use its influence to bring this latest military campaign against the Kurds to an immediate halt.

As Peace in Kurdistan has stated so many times, there is a way to resolve this conflict and settle the issues at stake: that is through a brokered negotiated peace. That means recognition that the Kurds have their own legitimate security concerns, that the Kurdish people have legitimate rights just like their neighbours. It is never too late to talk peace.

Turkey has been waging its war on the Kurds for far too long. Turkey must be stopped.

Solidarity with the Kurdish people. Defend Rojava. Stop the bombing of innocent civilians.


Peace in Kurdistan