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Stop Turkey’s attacks on Kurds

Turkey’s offensive on Afrin, Syria, is yet another attack carried out by the Turkish government on Kurds. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have previously sought refuge in relative stability of the area and are now also at risk of getting caught in the crossfire. Europe must make use of all available channels to push their NATO partner Erdogan towards respecting the human rights of all actors and convince him to stop his egomaniac course that is inspired by nothing else than consolidating his own power, at the expense of the Kurds. They are currently among the most democratic and progressive forces in the region and must be supported by Europe as key players in building a stable, democratic and peaceful Middle East. Plenty of the weapons that Turkey currently uses for the attack on Afrin are coming from its NATO partners, including top European arms exporters. Europe must make it clear to Turkey, that attacks like these will not be condoned and have consequences.

Not supporting the Kurds in the north of Syria during an attack from Erdogan’s troops, after the Kurds have been a key actor in combatting so-called Islamic State, will send a devastating message to the Middle East: that Europe is no trustworthy a partner and that brute force is acceptable to solve political disagreements. This breeds more disillusion and anger at European actors and can easily be exploited by extremists in the Middle East for political objectives to spread more violence and fear at home as well as abroad. The Federation of Young European Greens thus calls upon the European Union and its member states to take all available measures to stop the aggression on Afrin and facilitate peaceful resolution of disputes in Syria and the Middle East.

Europe has to send a clear message to Ankara, especially, since people in Turkey who are siding with peace, who are opposing this attack, are largely unable to voice their opposition without the fear of being labelled as terrorist by the state-owned media and even prosecution by the state. Fear of Turkey cancelling the dirty anti-refugee deal must not hold Europe back from demanding respect for basic rights.  European weapons and European silence are tools for Erdogan to strengthen his autocracy and shed more blood in the Middle East. FYEG urgently calls for European governments to stop being facilitators for wars and become active peacemakers instead.