Demonstration against Turkish FM in Washington, DC

A demonstration was staged in Washington, DC in protest at Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday.

Demonstrators gathered at the State Department in Washington, DC early Monday morning to condemn the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The meeting discussed Turkish plans to invade and occupy Manbij, under the guise of a “road map” for “stability and security” in the region— which is already stable in the hands of the SDF. According to the State Department, both sides agreed on a “road map” to accomplish this.

The demonstrators, including representatives of various Kurdish groups and solidarity organizations, chanted slogans and passed on a statement to the chief of the department’s Syria desk. The statement read as follows:

“Following the June 7th elections in 2015, the Turkish state began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Kurds both inside and outside of its borders, to take revenge for the electoral upset caused by Kurdish votes and to bring the nationalist political order into orbit around the AKP. They destroyed Sur, Cizre, Nusaybin and other Kurdish towns, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and killed at least 2,000— including many women and children—between 2015 and 2016.

The electoral context is crucial to understanding the Turkish state’s cruel campaign against the Kurdish civilian population, as it was coupled with an unprecedented campaign against the only pro-Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Thousands of HDP members, including elected officials, were arrested. People who were linked to the HDP or who had signed petitions calling for peace in the midst of a mass campaign of state terror were disproportionately represented among the thousands of people removed from their jobs and posts. 

After the ethnic cleansing campaign achieved its immediate goals within Turkey’s own borders, Erdogan to attack Kurds outside of Turkey. On January 20th, Afrin became the target of an unprovoked, genocidal military campaign led by the Turkish state and its jihadist mercenaries. Their merciless assault was aimed at destroying an island of peace, freedom, democracy, and self-determination for all peoples. They have destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, displaced hundreds of thousands of people, kidnapped women and girls, forced Yezidis to convert to Islam, and replaced the freedom that the Kurdish people have fought and died for with darkness and tyranny.                                            

Today, Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is meeting with U.S. officials here at the State Department to discuss the “security and stability” of Manbij— a city that was secured and stabilized by the Syrian Democratic Forces before the Turkish campaign against it. It is clear that this is the pretext for another invasion attempt against the Rojava Revolution, and another attempt to replace our democratic society with radicalism and dictatorship.                                               

The SDF, with the support of the US, carried out a military campaign to liberate Manbij from ISIS in 2016. They paid a heavy price, with thousands of Kurdish, Arab, and Assyrian fighters giving their lives. After months of fighting, the city was liberated. Democratic governance has been implemented there, under the model seen in the rest of Rojava. The local people, mostly Arabs, are able to rule themselves and rebuild their lives. U.S. forces there work with the local military council to fight remaining ISIS cells— while Turkey, supposedly a U.S. ally, threatens them.                                                                       

The Turkish state is threatened by the success of Rojava’s democratic model amongst the different peoples of Syria. They are threatened by the idea that diverse communities can grow and thrive together, with no one person’s culture, religion, or language privileged over any other’s, as this goes against the founding principles of the Turkish state. They hope to keep Syria, and the entire Middle East, divided by dictatorship and radical Islamism, and to crush solidarity between peoples wherever it exists.                                                                       

Turkey’s intends to repeat their crimes of Afrin against the people of Manbij, and then against all of Northern Syria—they wish to destroy local democracy and efforts to promote religious equality and women’s freedom, and build backwards principalities governed to promote the values and interests of their Wahhabi jihadist proxies.                                                                       

The U.S. knows what Turkish fascism is. Today, there are US citizens imprisoned in Turkey, and the fascist thugs of the Turkish security forces have even attacked people who protest and dissent here in Washington. The violence the US has been complicit in in Turkey, where the consequences can be ignored, has now struck U.S. citizens. We expect U.S. leaders to understand this, and act accordingly.         

We call on all champions of freedom and democracy to not betray the Kurdish people’s hopes and the democratic and egalitarian values that the SDF defend. We call on those who claim to stand against terrorism to reject the Turkish state’s plans to replace the forces which crushed ISIS with rule indistinguishable from that of ISIS. We call on those who speak for peace and stability to defend the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and the peoples who defend it in the face of Erdogan’s dictatorship and his jihadist proxy gangs.                                                                       

The democratic system in Rojava is the only hope for democracy and peace in the Middle East. Do not let Erdogan destroy democracy, equality and peace in the region!”