Kurds Won’t Stay Silent: Protests In Erbil, the Hague, London, and more
Wednesday marked a full week of the Turkish assault against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. Up to seven civilians have died as a result of the continuous air strikes, and hundreds of people displaced. The Kurdish community around the world has rallied to send a clear message to Turkey that the strikes will not be tolerated. The official response from the Kurdistan Regional Government stated that it “is worried and uneasy with regards to this situation and in strong opposition to the ongoing bombardment. No excuse can be a justification to the bombardment on the territory of the Kurdistan region as this will give a great damage to the amity and security of the region’s people.” The airstrikes have thus far killed 7 civilians, among them an infant child, and the PKK reports that 30 rebels have also been killed.
On Sunday, 21 August protests in Istanbul resulted in a clash with police when they attempted to forcefully disperse the protesters from Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The protest group included the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and deputies Gültan Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel and Levent Tüzel. They started a sit-down protest amid police attempts to disperse them.
Protests in the Hague drew a crowd of about 100 Kurds in support of the PKK. Aydin Batman, one of the protest organizers, told Rudaw that “While Turkey criticizes Syria, they are bombing the Kurds,” Batman said. “We as patriots living in the Netherlands should definitely not accept this destruction, and genocide [against Kurds].”
A similar sentiment emerged as thousands came to protest in Erbil. A large sign read “Turkey Feeds A Child In Somalia, Massacres A Family In Kurdistan”. The irony of Turkey’s hypocritical human rights record isn’t lost on the global Kurdish community. As Turkey polishes its global image as a modern, stable country, taking a leading role in Syrian diplomacy, protesters in Erbil condemned the human rights abuses that Turkey has committed in its offense against the PKK. They demanded an end to the invasion of Kurdistan’s borders, and that they “will no longer allow for bloodshed in our nation”.
Protests are expected to continue to spread throughout Europe.
A protest in London is planned for Saturday, 27 August, in front of the Richmond Terrace, as well as a protest in Paris in front of the Turkish consulate.