Protests took place in London, Berlin and Paris this weekend against the Turkish government’s poor disaster relief response following the 6 February twin earthquakes that hit the south of the country.
Locals also joined the protests in the three European capitals in solidarity with the Kurdish and Turkish diaspora. As well as the insufficiency of humanitarian aid delivered to the earthquake-hit 10 provinces in the country, the protestors also drew attention to possible attempts by the government to change the demographic structure of the region by pushing some ethnic and religious groups to migrate to other parts of the country.
The earthquake hit mainly Kurdish-populated southern and southeastern provinces as well as the multi-ethnic and multi-religious Hatay province. The area is also home to neighbourhoods of people following the Alevi faith.
In London, members of the Democratic Power Union of Britain, including the Kurdish People’s Assembly, British Alevi Federation and local associations gathered outside Haringey Civic Centre.
The demonstration began with a minute of silence for those who lost their lives in the earthquake, and protesters carried banners and placards with messages like “Shame Erdoğan, shame AKP,” referring to the Turkish president and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and “It’s not the earthquake but the corrupt state that kills.”
Speakers emphasised the importance of acting together to heal the wounds of the people and the need for solidarity against the policies of the Turkish government.
In Berlin, Kurdish people and friends of Kurdistan gathered in Alexanderplatz. Kurdish politician Hüseyin Yılmaz gave a speech, thanking left-wing socialist circles and Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) for their efforts in providing solidarity to the people after the earthquake. Susanne Rösling from Dest-Dan Women’s Assembly highlighted the pain of the tens of thousands of people who had lost their lives in the earthquake and criticised the Turkish government for investing in war rather than in measures to make the country more resilient to earthquakes.
In the Mantes-la-Jolie suburb of Paris, protesters condemned the inhumane behaviour of the Turkish government after the earthquake in Kurdish-populated provinces, accusing it of exhibiting a genocidal attitude towards the Alevi and Kurdish population living in the area.