Noam Chomsky, David Graeber, and Brian Eno have joined hundreds of academics and artists around the world to sign an academic and cultural call to boycott Turkey. The call asks for:
academics, artists and intellectuals around the world to oppose the Turkish invasion of north-eastern Syria [Rojava] by boycotting Turkish government sponsored academic, artistic and musical events taking place inside and outside of Turkey.
“Rojava is a beacon of hope for the peoples of the world”
Graeber, an author and academic, told The Canary why he supports this call to boycott Turkey:
Rojava is a beacon of hope for the peoples of the world, currently being faced by the prospect of outright genocide. Its the responsibility of decent human beings everywhere to understand that neutrality is not an option.
Turkey’s academic institutions are deeply enmeshed with Turkish capitalism and the military industrial complex. Many universities act as incubators for Turkish military technology, making the arms companies richer, and strengthening the state’s oppressive militarism.
They also asked universities around the world to boycott partnerships with Turkish state-funded institutions. The signatories ask that organisations reject Turkish state funding for cultural events such as film festivals.
Turkey’s invasion of the majority-Kurdish autonomous region of north-eastern Syria (known as Rojava) began on the 9 October. Turkish-backed jihadist groups have also crossed the border and carried out killing sprees. A brief ceasefire was declared on 17 October, but Turkey has continued to fire on Rojava and carry out drone strikes regardless.
The boycott call argues that:
Turkish President R. T. Erdoğan has stated explicitly and repeatedly that it is his intention to militarily ethnically cleanse the Kurdish population of over one million people that live in an arc across the Turkish border from Kobane to Derik and to replace that population with members of different ethnic groups.
The Turkish state has heavily cracked down on academics who have spoken out against the government. In 2016, over two-thousand academics working in Turkey signed a declaration calling on Turkey to end its war on Kurdish people. These Academics For Peace have been severely punished by the state and by state universities. Hundreds lost their jobs, while around 790 are being prosecuted and are facing trial.
Pressure your university
Universities around the world also have ties with companies linked to the Turkish state. Students and academics can pressure their universities to end collaborations with these Turkish companies.
For example, Turkish arms company Aselsan has partnerships with Bristol university in the UK, with Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, and with Boston University in the US. Aselsan is majority-owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, whose chairman is president Erdoğan. Aselsan’s weapons are used in Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of Kurdish people.
Aselsan also has collaborations with 29 universities in Turkey. Academics could pressure universities worldwide to end all collaborations with Aselsan’s partner universities in Turkey.
The academic call is just one way that people can boycott Turkey. There are many other ways that people can take action. For example, don’t book your package holiday in Turkey. And don’t fly with Turkish Airlines, which is half-owned by the state. You can boycott specific Turkish brands such as Beko, or you can protest against the many arms companies which supply weapons to Turkey.
Take action and stand with the people of Rojava. Boycott Turkey.
Featured image via screengrab
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