Unite is outraged at the Turkish military attacks on the Kurdish population and security forces of Afrin, Syria – as yesterday (January 29) Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, told foreign secretary Boris Johnson in no uncertain terms. Unite is calling for Johnson to use his influence to stop these attacks “in the fight for peace, democracy and tolerance in this troubled region.”
In his letter to Johnson, McCluskey writes, “As you are aware, the Kurdish people of northern Syria have been our allies and have been critical in the fight against ISIS. They have undoubtedly played a massive role in protecting the UK and the civilised world from the barbarism that ISIS represents.
“There is no doubt that Afrin has been an area of relative peace and security in the more recent phase of Syria’s terrible civil war, which is why so many refugees who have been forced to escape the atrocities in other parts of Syria have fled there.”
‘Worsen humanitarian crisis’
He continues by expressing Unite’s horror at Turkey’s actions which will only worsen the humanitarian crisis further.
He says, “We are utterly appalled that Turkey – a fellow NATO member – has now launched an unprovoked attack on this area and we are certain that this will only exasperate the humanitarian crisis further.”
Attacks on the Kurds are also condemned. “In addition, it is also blatantly clear that Turkey has been waging a war against its own population since the breakdown of talks with the PKK in July 2015.
“Since then the Kurds have suffered extreme and brutal repression at the hands of the Turkish state with many Kurdish cities being devastated and Kurdish politicians, journalists, teachers and numerous people who oppose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been arrested and detained. Turkey is continuing to accelerate down the path of authoritarian rule with democracy and civil society suffering real repression.
“The Turkish attacks on northern Syria can only be seen as an escalation of Turkey’s genocidal policy against the Kurds.”
The Tory government cannot continue to turn a blind eye. McCluskey tells Johnson, “It is clear that Afrin has never posed a threat to Turkey’s borders and we are bitterly disappointed that you continue to refer to Turkey’s so called ‘legitimate security concerns’ while turning a blind eye to the atrocities that the Turkish state is committing.”
The letter concludes in a plea for Johnson to act for peace and tolerance. “As a permanent member of the UN Security Council we call on you the UK government, and you as its’ Foreign Secretary, to immediately take action and use your influence to halt the Turkish army’s offensive against Afrin and to support the forces that have been our allies in the fight for peace, democracy and tolerance in this troubled region.”
Find out more about Unite’s international department’s campaign here.