Kurds and their supporters have taken to the streets across Europe to protest against Turkey’s attacks in North and East Syria and other violations of international law, ANF News reported.
Last weekend saw large crowds gather in Mantes-la-jolie, Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Saarbrücken, Schlossplatz, Zürich, and London to demonstrate against Turkey’s attacks and shellings in North and East Syria and Iraq.
On Saturday, a group gathered in front of the opera building in Mantes-la-jolie, France, to protest Turkey’s attacks, its alleged use of chemical weapons against Kurdish forces, and the isolation imposed on jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.
During a June interview with the Arab Weekly, Zagros Hiwa, the spokesperson for the PKK-affiliated Union of Communities of Kurdistan, accused Turkey of using chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters “at least 164 times”.
Meanwhile, Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has been kept under strict conditions since 1999 in a prison on western Turkey’s İmralı Island, where Turkish authorities routinely prevent him from meeting lawyers or family members.
The protesters in Mantes-la-jolie said the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture’s (CPT) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) silence on these attacks and human rights violations was unacceptable.
In Düsseldorf, Germany, Kurdish protesters and their international allies held a demonstration against Turkey’s attacks in northern Syria and alleged use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
They said that Turkey had frequently killed civilians in its cross-border attacks in Syria, and accused the European Union and NATO of supporting this aggression.
In Freiburg, Germany, hundreds of Kurds gathered under the common banner of the Democratic Kurdish Community Center (DKTM) and the European Kurdish Women Movement (TJK-E).
Mewal Mihemed, the spokesperson of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) of Freiburg, said Turkish President Erdoğan’s plans for a new military operation amounted to an attempt to occupy mainly Kurdish areas in North and East Syria, a region known locally as Rojava.
“The aim of the Turkish state is to completely occupy and then annex Rojava, with the support of Russia and Iran, to induce the people to flee and to destabilize the region,” said Mihemed.
In Zurich, Switzerland, representatives of many democratic institutions, including the Swiss Kurdish Community Center (CDK-S) and the Zurich Rojava Committee, heeded the call of European Syriac Union (ESU) and the PYD to stage a protest in front of the Turkish Consulate.
ESU Switzerland representative Lukas Sauer said European states had preferred to remain silent and ignore the massacre of civilians in Middle East.
“One of the underlying reasons for these attacks is to destroy the democratic, ecological and women’s libertarian living space created by the Rojava Revolution,” said PYD Switzerland representative Sekwan Rojava.
Lastly, CDK-S Co-chair İsmail Kardaş stated that Assyrians, Yazidis, Arabs, Armenians and many different identities and beliefs live together in Rojava and defend their lands.
With the organisation of the Rojava Committee, people also gathered in Saarbrücken, Germany to protest the recent attacks against North and East Syria.
A Turkish drone strike hit a school in northern Syria in August, killing four schoolgirls and wounding many more civilians.
NGOs and many democratic institutions have previously held demonstrations across different parts of Europe to protest the Yazidi massacre, Turkey’s attacks on Iraq, and Turkey’s use of chemical weapons.