Press conference at the EP on the Turkish offensive in Afrin

A Press conference entitled “Turkish offensive on Afrin” took place today at the European parliament with the participation of  MEPs :

Gabi Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE, President)
Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL, FR)
Josef Weidenholzer (S&D, Austria, DE)
Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE)
Costas Mavrides (SD Cyprus)
Branislav Škripek (ECR Slovakia)

and Guests:

Eyup Doru (HDP Europe)
David Vergili (ESU)

David Vergili, representative of the Syriac Union in Europe first commented on the danger of such attacks on autochton people in the region and the possibility of a new genocide for Christians and said he expected Europe and the international community to put an end to these attacks and to support the democratic forces fighting Isis. He described the democratic project in Syria as a unique system that could lead to a solution for the people of Syria.

Gabrielle Zimmer for her part began by saying that these military offensives of Turkey aimed, beyond the destruction of military structures of the YPG, the democratic project for the region as a whole, project that gave the hope of a co-existence between the peoples of the different ethnic groups in the region. She said that she found it incomprehensible and rejected the international community’s inability and unwillingness to make a clear statement about these attacks, and said that High Representative Mogherini had only made a weak pronouncement until now, only saying that the EU was concerned and calling for guarantees for the safety of the civilian population, a statement she said was almost laughable.

The left-wing chair also called on the Council and the Commission to take responsibility to ensure that their member states no longer supply arms and that the German government ends its arms exports.

Rebacca Harms, for her part, was shocked by what was going on in Afrin, saying that in a way, what was going on was somehow long-feared and finally happened. She emphasized that instead of seeking solutions there was a senseless intensification of conflict in this region synonymous with peace, multiculturalism, positive living together between people of different religions and ethnicities. She also said she was devastated to see the existing polarization in Turkey extending to its neighboring country and described the latter’s military intervention as a violation of international law. She said she expects the international community, the European Union and NATO to position themselves, she said she also expects Russia to withdraw her support for this military intervention and to stop supporting this partial occupation of this area by Turkey. Rebecca Harms ended her speech by denouncing the wave of arrests currently under way against those who spoke to oppose Turkey’s military intervention in Afrin.

Branislav Skripek for his part denounced the fact that Turkey did not fight against terrorism but on the contrary supported the latter. He emphasized that Turkey had clearly said that it considered Afrin as Arab and planned to drive the Kurdish people out of Afrin and replace them with Arab refugees, which is tantamount to ethnic cleansing in his words. Finally, he called on the EU Member States to unite to stop the bombing and asked High Representative Mogherini to include the Northern Syrian Federation as part of peace talks in the region;

Costas Mavrides also pointed out that what was happening in Afrin was against international law. He insisted that we could not remain silent and said that what has been going on in Turkey for a few decades shows that there are things that are not changing in this country. He pointed out that the Erdogan regime was attacking the Kurdish Autonomous Region and other groups in the region and said he called this preemptive strike against an area of ​​Syria where people with different languages and religions had found a safe place in an area surrounded by the vicissitudes of wars in recent years. He said that the attack was led by groups of mercenaries who had been trained for months in Turkey and who were then sent to fight against Kurds and other groups, people who support our values ​​and principles by fighting against Daesh .