call to our politicians

Photo: Ludo De Brabander

Call to our politicians: break the silence around Afrin abroad
7 minutes

The Turkish  war against Afrin, an enclave with a large majority of Kurds, has been going on for almost two months now. About 140 academics, artists, writers and people from the civil society launch a call to break the silence about the Turkish violations of international (humanitarian) law.

A peaceful enclave from which no threat or violence is exposed is due to intense Turkish bombing and militia violence. All this under the guise of 'fighting against terrorism' (read the Kurdish popular militias that played a prominent role in defeating the Islamic State).

There are hundreds of victims to be regretted, many of whom are children. With the support of the Turkish army, militias of armed Salafists have been approached up to a few kilometers from the eponymous city of Afrin. With the ever-thinner aggressive language of President Erdogan, the worst thing to fear. According to the propaganda of President Erdogan, the war will ensure that the 'original inhabitants' can 'return' to Afrin. In reality he started an operation that Afrin ethnically needs to purify from the Kurdish population. Subsequently he wants to resettle the Syrian refugees who are in Turkey. Erdogan also threatens to attack the cities of Manbij, Kobani, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli after Afrin. This means that he wants to place the whole of the northern region under the control of Ankara with the help of Islamist militias trained by Turkey.

President Erdogan is determined to put an end to a unique basic democratic, pluralistic and gender-equal political experiment, a project where people in peace, with religious freedom and cultural diversity try to build a better future in the midst of war abhorrence.

Turkish military aggression marks a new phase in the almost seven-year war. Apparently, Putin as well as Assad are willing to give Erodgan free rein in exchange for recapturing Ghouta. For the US it is in any case a win-win scenario since they get a foothold in Syria via Turkey. For Assad, the military aggression of Turkey is a necessary evil, so that he too can free himself from the difficult self-government under the impulse of the Kurds. While it is important for Putin that the local regional powers remain firmly in the saddle and keep each other in balance, just what threatens democratic self-government.

And what does Belgium do? The European Union? Almost the entire political establishment? They look the other way. Although the Turkish invasion of Syria is a serious violation of international law and the UN Charter is being violated, it remains remarkably quiet. They close ears, eyes and mouth.

However, many of the advancing militias are supporters of an extremist intolerant ideology, of the genre seen in Europe as potentially dangerous. In northern Syria, where they fight on the side of a NATO ally, they can proceed with impunity. Worse, NATO turns things upside down and declares that Turkey has the right to defend itself.

International silence is shameful. Disturbing statements about human rights and democracy remain unanswered. The refusal to condemn the Turkish aggression war and to take measures to put an end to the violations of international law makes our governments complicit in war crimes.

To our governments we ask: have you forgotten that thousands of Kurdish fighters have given life and have done the dirty work to drive out the Islamic State? Is the refugee agreement with Turkey more important than the fate of an entire people? Is the alliance with a repressive and belligerent regime more important than the defense of basic values, of international law and human rights? What's the point of a UN resolution at the end of February that demands a 30-day truce throughout Syria if no one makes the effort to ensure that it is observed?

We call to finally break the silence !

We ask for:

1. to condemn and stop the Turkish war.
2. to freeze military relations and arms trade with Turkey

3. to take urgent diplomatic measures to silence the weapons, which lead to a durable stock and put an end to the Turkish occupation

4. to restart all peace talks this time including a Kurdish representation

5. to defend the struggle for freedom of expression and action in Turkey and to protest against the arrests of critics of the Turkish invasion

Initiative of: Ludo De Brabander, Vrede vzw and Stephen Bouquin, Professor of Sociology at the University of Evry-Parisud.


Ludo Abicht,  Prof. dr em., PSW, Universiteit Antwerpen
Zafer Ak, Mala Kurd vzw
Koen Allary, directeur Circuscentrum
Daniel Alliët, priester Begijnhofkerk Brussel
Em.Prof. Jean-Jacques Amy, VUB
Hasna Ankal, freelance schrijfster en journalist
Gerda Ardies, Soroptimist
Karel Arnaut, Prof. Dr. KU Leuven
Rachida Aziz, auteure
Özlem Barin, Afrin Solidarity Platform-Belgium
Ginette Bauwens Filosofe
Thomas Blommaert, Uitgeverij EPO
Koen Bogaert, professor, Universiteit Gent
Yassine Boubout, activist
Jaak Brepoels, gemeenteraadslid sp.a
Eric Byl, uitvoerend bestuur LSP
Hendrik Cammu, Prof. Dr. VU Brussel
Saddie Choua, kunstenaar
Edi Clijsters, Vlinks
Dirk Coigneau, Ereprofessor Universiteit Gent
Marijke Colle, Feminisme Yeah en SAP
Ria Convents, Vrouwen in het Zwart Leuven
Geert Cool, woordvoerder antiracistische beweging Blokbuster
Sven Cooremans, dichter en activist
Leni Creuwels, voorzitter Hannah Interculturele projecten vzw
Andrew Crosby, onderzoeker sociologie, GERME-ULB
Geertrui Daem, schrijfster
Marc David, Em. prof. Universiteit Antwerpen
Paul De Belder, voorzitter vzw Aan de IJzer & kernlid VLINKS
Patrick Deboosere, Prof. VU Brussel
Dr. Pascal Debruyne, UGent, Menarg
Lieven De Cauter, Prof. cultuurfilosoof, KU Leuven & RITCS
Jo De Leeuw, moraalfilosofe
Mark Demesmaeker, Europees parlementslid N-VA
Marc De Meyere, Prof. em. Universiteit Gent
Gita Deneckere, hoogleraar geschiedenis UGent
Chris Den Hond, video-journalist
Johan De Nys, Vlaams-Socialistische Beweging
Herman De Ley, Em. Prof., Universiteit Gent
Didi de Paris, dichter
Prof.dr. Petra De Sutter, Senator & MP Council of Europe
Jozef Devillé, filmmaker, Brussel
Wouter De Vriendt, Kamerlid Groen
Jozef Devillé, filmmaker, Brussel
Ludo De Witte, auteur
Prof. Dr. Em. Ruddy Doom, Universiteit Gent
Charles Ducal, schrijver
Ramon Emmaneel, Solidariteitscomité voor Rojava
Jan Engelen, em. prof. ir. KU Leuven
Annemarie Estor, schrijfster
Derwich M. Ferho, Koerdisch Instituut Brussel
Jan Fermon, advocaat, PROGRESS Lawyers Network
Marjan Florizoone
Kelly Franceus, nationaal coördinator Masereelfonds vzw
Lieve Franssen, Brecht-Eisler Koor
Carl Gydé, zakelijke leiding kunstencentrum CAMPO
Eric Goeman, woordvoerder Attac Vlaanderen, voorzitter Democratie 2000
Jan Goossens, Festival de Marseille
Johan Grimonprez, Filmmaker
Guy Gypens, directeur Kaaitheater
Amir Haberkorn, EAJS
Akram Hamo, Belgische Koerdische Vereniging Hevi
Marc Hendrickx, Vlaams Volksvertegenwoordiger
Nina Henkens, socioloog
Kristien Hemmerechts, schrijfster
Norbert Van den Bergh, Emeritus, Vakgroep Wiskundige Analyse, Universiteit Gent
Wouter Hillaert, Hart boven Hard
Joris Iven, dichter-vertaler
Roger Jacobs, leerkracht basiseducatie en publicist
Em. Prof. Dr. Patric Jacobs, Universiteit Gent
Kris Kaerts, regisseur
Hilde Keteleer, auteur en vertaler, PEN Writers in Prison
Orhan Kilic, Nav Bel
Dr. Marieke Krijnen, Freelance Researcher, Writer, Editor ACME Journal
Rachida Lamrabet, schrijfster
Fred Louckx, em. hoogleraar, VU Brussel
Prof. Pieter Maeseele, Universiteit Antwerpen
Kobe Matthys, kunstenaar
Luc Mishalle, artistiek directeur METX
Frank Moulaert Em. Prof., KU Leuven
Prof. dr. Idesbald Nicaise, HIVA, KU Leuven
Ans Nys, docent Sint-Lucas Gent
Prof. dr. Jan Orbie, Universiteit Gent
Dirk Pauwels
Leen Persijn, Theatermaker
Prof. Karen Phalet, Center for Social and Cultural Psychology, KU Leuven
Marijke Pinoy, Actrice
Alain Platel, les ballets C de la B
Maggi Poppe, Vrouwenkracht Vredesmacht
Lucien Posman, Ere-hoofddocent Hogeschool Gent, componist
André Posman, lic Geschiedenis, eredocent hoger onderwijs
Henk Pringels, schrijver, regisseur, zanger Opera en Ballet Vlaanderen
Veerle Provoost, Professor Empirical research methods for moral science and ethics, U Gent
Jeroen Robbe, Labo vzw
Egmont Ruelens, Weerwerk
Ben Rottiers, acteur
Pieter Saey, ereprof. UGent
Marie Scheirlinck, Vrijwilligster OCMW Nevele
Noémie Schellens, operazangeres
Ludo Segers, voorzitter Hand in Hand tegen racisme vzw
Koen Stassijns, dichter
Peter Terryn, Solidarity for All
Dirk Tuypens, acteur
Frank Vanaerschot, FairFin
Tom Van Bauwel, acteur, regisseur
Petra Van Brabandt
Myrian Vandecan, Palestina Solidariteit
Paul Vanden Bavière, Uitpers
Gie van den Berghe, gastprof. Universiteit Gent
Stefaan van den Bremt, auteur
Yoris Van den Houte
Prof. Dr. Guido Vanden Wyngaerd, KU Leuven, Campus Brussel
Marc Vandepitte, Filosoof
Robrecht Vanderbeeken, filosoof
Prof. Dirk Vandermeulen, KU Leuven
Bart Vandersteene, woordvoerder LSP
Em. Prof. dr. Erik Van der Straeten, Universiteit Antwerpen
Michiel Vandevelde, Choreograaf/curator, Co-directeur Bâtard festival
Annuschka Vandewalle, algemeen secretaris, FOS
Michel Vanhoorne, LEF
Geert van Istendael, schrijver
Joke van Leeuwen, schrijfster
Prof. Dr. Willie van Peer, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
Thomas Van Riet, Docent KU Leuven
Thomas van Zwol, ACV-CNE vakbondsafgevaardigde
Jos Verbist, acteur, regisseur
Em. prof. Aviel Verbruggen, Universiteit Antwerpen
Brecht Verbrugghe, huisarts
Prof. Karin Verelst, Erasmushogeschool/VUB
Ria Verjauw, Belgische Coalitie ‘Stop Uranium Wapens’
Jaak Vermeulen, theatermaker
Siggie Vertommen, King’s College London
Gert Verwilt, bestuurslid Vlinks
Erik Vlaminck, voorzitter PEN-Vlaanderen.
Jan Vranken, Emeritus gewoon hoogleraar Universiteit Antwerpen
Karin Vyncke, choreografe, vzw Aquilon
Raf Walschaerts, kommil foo
Thomas Weyts, SAP
Dominique Willaert, artistiek leider Victoria Deluxe vzw
Luc Wynants
Karim Zahidi, filosoof, Universiteit Antwerpen
Walter Zinzen, journalist

This call has been published in De Morgen



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