We need to stand up against Erdoğan’s threats to invade Rojava

Thousands march against Turkish invasion in Serekaniye
Tom Anderson

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been making new threats to launch an invasion of Rojava in Northern Syria.

Erdoğan has been escalating his threats of a new invasion throughout the week. On Saturday 5 October he said that it could happen “as soon as today or tomorrow.”

Troop build up

The Turkish military has been moving more military vehicles and troops to the town of Akcakale and city of Şanlıurfa, across the border from Rojava. An internationalist volunteer who is currently in Rojava told The Canary:

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There were sounds of planes overhead pretty much all night into the early morning. We read on Twitter that it was [joint flights by] the Coalition and Turkey. But we have no way of confirming that first hand.

Thousands march in Serekaniye

Thousands of people joined a march in the city of Serekaniye in Rojava on Sunday 6 October in anger against Erdoğan‘s threats.

Threats to crush a revolution

Since 2012, a revolution has been taking place in Rojava, Northern Syria. Rojava is the area of Kurdistan which lies within the borders of Syria. The revolution in Rojava is based on the values of women’s freedom, direct democracy, and creating a collective ecological society. Erdoğan sees the revolution in Rojava as a threat to his own dictatorial nationalism, and wants to destroy it.

Erdoğan’s stated aim is to secure Turkey’s border with Syria. But in fact, Erdoğan wants to stamp out the hope which has been created by the ideas of the Rojava revolution. Ideas which also have deep roots inside Turkey’s borders.

Ongoing occupation

Turkey and its allied militias invaded and occupied Rojava’s Afrin region in 2018. Since then, according to the Rojava Information Centre:

Turkish-backed militias have begun to impose sharia law, kidnap, murder and torture civilians, and commit human rights violations possibly amounting to war crimes.

According to the #RiseUp4Rojava campaign:

While hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from Afrin by jihadist gangs supported, equipped and monitored by the Turkish army, these jihadists and their families are settling and exploiting the resources of the people. They are selling the symbol of Afrin itself, olive oil from olive trees that have been cultivated there for hundreds of years, through Turkey to Spain and other European countries. This is what the Turkish state means when it claims to be securing its border: ethnic cleansing and jihadist gangs attacking the local people.

Constant threats

Erdoğan‘s current threats to the region are only the latest. In fact, ever since the revolution took place, Rojava has consistently been threatened with invasion by the Turkish regime.

Rise Up for Rojava

Earlier this year supporters of the Rojava’s revolution launched an international campaign for Rojava. A statement from the campaign reads:

We must expand our actions, connect them and internationalise them. We have to trespass from a politics of protest to permanent political resistance. The Turkish army is firing their weapons, and NATO is providing the ammunition. The people of Kurdistan and Northern Syria are already responding to these attacks. We, as anti-fascists and revolutionary forces, will take action – through occupation, blockade and disruption – against the places of military, diplomatic and economical cooperation for Turkish fascism in our countries.

#Riseup4Rojava organised actions across Europe in September, including against Turkey’s involvement in London’s DSEI arms fair. International action is being called for against the companies which are supplying weapons to the Turkish state. A boycott campaign has also been launched. With holidaymakers being asked not to take their vacations in Turkey.

Defend the revolution

We need to keep our eyes on what is happening in Northern Syria, and take action against the Turkish state’s militarism wherever we are.

The victorious Kurdish hunger striker Leyla Güven recently said “Hope is more precious than victory”. The hope that the Rojava revolution represents needs to be defended.

Featured image ANF Firat

Tom Anderson is part of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. Twitter: @shoalcollective

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