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Academics for Rojava: “It’s about humanity, never give up!”

While the Turkish war of aggression against Rojava and North-East Syria continues, there are protests against it worldwide. Intellectuals and academics speak out and condemn this war and show solidarity with Rojava and Northeast Syria.

In the following, we publish statements of Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof. Federica Giardini, Dr. Dario Azzellini, Dr. Joost Jongerden, Prof. Kariane Westrheim and Prof. Ueli Mäder who expressed their solidarity.

Prof. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher and historian, USA:

“Hard to convey how wrenching all of this is.

With his abject capitulation to Erdogan, Trump add his name to the list of shame of American presidents who have betrayed the Kurds, cruelly and viciously, for the past 45 years. His decision to leave Rojava to the mercy of Erdogan and Assad is particularly shameful after the Kurdish militias defeated ISIS with some US support, suffering thousands killed, and after firm US promises to protect them from an expanded Turkish assault.  The crime is only compounded by the fact that Trump’s betrayal puts at grave risk the remarkable achievements of the Kurds in Rojava, a true inspiration, and for that very reason a threat to autocracy and concentrated power.  Every effort should be made to put an end to these atrocities and to protect the victims.”

Prof. Federica Giardini, Roma Tre University Department of Philosophy, Communication and Entertainment, Italy:

“Defending Rojava means defending those who resist every day, in the Middle East as in every other part of the world, against the advancing atrocities. For millions of activists, thinkers and academics the Kurdish political culture has been the forefront of a new way in imagining and building a different society, based on non-state autonomy, self-determination, direct democracy and the fight to patriarchy, where interculturality, different and righteous gender relations and respect for Earth are developed in the day by day life. The violent and outrageous attack against the Kurdish people is an attack to the hope of all of us for an alternative way of living; all over the world rage indignation and solidarity are the signs of our determination in pursuing it.”

Dr. Dario Azzellini, sociologist and political scientist, USA:

It is about humanity and mankind”

Since October 9, Turkey, NATO’s second-largest army, has been conducting a war of aggression against Rojava together with Islamic militias of Al-Qaida and the Islamic state.

The aim is the annexation of the territory. Genocide and expulsion of the predominantly Kurdish, but also Assyrian, Christian, Yezidi and Arab population are the goal.

The multiethnic SDF, led by Kurdish fighters, almost completely defeated the Islamic state (Daesh), leaving more than 11,000 casualties in their own ranks.

In Rojava, the only multi-ethnic and multi-religious model of coexistence in the entire region was established. Basic democracy and equal rights for women characterize the self-administration.

Turkey and its allies stand for war, expulsion, genocide, intolerance, racism and authoritarianism. Today, Erdogan wants to turn back the wheel of history. Turkey makes no secret of the fact that it dreams of the old Ottoman Empire.

The future of an entire region is decided in Rojava. If it gets through with its plan in Rojava, they will not stop there. In Rojava and all over the world we have to oppose this war. It’s about humanity and that of mankind.”

Dr. Joost Jongerden, sociologist,Wageningen University, Holland:

 “While Trump had always advocated disengagement from Syria, Turkish mainstream opinion and political leadership have never accepted Kurdish self-rule of territory on its Syrian border, which Turkey treats as an existential threat and dismisses with the trope of “terrorism.” Thus, Turkey’s military intervention fits a wider pattern of Turkish military aggression. Looking back over the past four years, we see the repeated waging of war for a “strong” state construction and regional power development. In short, the overall trajectory of Turkey over the past several years has been to centralize power and develop a strong state. The AKP and its leader Erdogan have created a security discourse in which the Kurds have been (re-)othered as an existential threat, leading to a militarization of politics. Through war, Turkey is attempting to create its own version of a strong nation-state wielding regional power. How long this will last, whether Erdogan can keep power, and how it will play out in other respects (such as a re-emergence of IS) remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that Erdogan’s construction of this strong state as well as the building of his personal power both take place through war against the Kurds.”

Prof. Kariane Westrheim, University of Bergen, Norway, Chair of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC):

“Never give up!”

Ever since the day of the Turkish invasion of North-East Syria (Rojava), I hope that something miraculous will happen, for instance that Trump had decided to continue his support to the Kurds and the YPG/YPJ while Putin had changed his mind regarding his support to Erdogan. Both parties deeply regret that they have stabbed the Kurds in the back in the most humiliating and dirty way. However, I know this is only a dream. The reality is that the Kurds who have been on the front cover of all major international media for the last 14 days are currently facing genocide. At the same time, this fact has encouraged people around the globe to protest and demonstrate against USA’s cowardly and cruel injustice. The Kurds are bloody aware of the failure of Western states, the UN and NATO when confronted with Turkish military hordes consisting of jihadists, al-Nusra front and other foreign fighters. The threat is not only annihilation but also the destruction of the revolutionary democratic society model that has put women at the forefront in every segment of society.

In this very moment, the Kurds and their spearheads YPG and YPJ are fighting for everything they have achieved and everything they love. All this, and because of the historic struggle of the Kurds, their strength and their unequivocal willingness to stand up and carry out what they have set out to do, makes me believe that they will resist in ways the world has never seen before, they will find their way, and they will succeed in one way or another.

For your- and for our sake I urge you not to give up! We, your friends abroad will do whatever it takes to support you with all means and through every diplomatic channel available to us. We are not facing the horrors as you do but you should know that we are with you in solidarity, thought and action and send our sincere love and moral support.”

Prof. Ueli Mäder, sociologist (emeritus professor at the University of Basel), Switzerland:

“Protest against the Turkish military offensive”

I protest against the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria and against the expulsion of the local population. Several hundred thousand people are fleeing. Among them are tens of thousands of Kurds. I am also shocked by how the USA and Russia are supporting the Turkish invasion and violating international law. Therefore a clear position of the European Union (EU) would be even more important. But the reactions are restrained and hesitant. Especially considering Turkey’s close economic relations with the EU. The NATO member also acts as a geopolitical gateway to the Middle East with various military bases. This has already been demonstrated in previous wars in Afghanistan, the Gulf and in attacks on Syria.

Between 2005 and 2015, the Swiss arms industry also earned 28.6 million Swiss francs from Turkish orders, which they have meanwhile relocated. Several million Swiss francs were received by countries that are involved in civil wars in the Middle East. However, further trade agreements are in progress with Turkey, although human rights violations are increasing.

Nevertheless, the many people who are currently demonstrating in Swiss cities against the Turkish military offensive are encouraging. They are engaged to respect human rights. That must be more important than economic interests.”

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