Hundreds gathered in solidarity with Kurdistan on Saturday afternoon in Glasgow’s City Centre.
Yellow, red and green lit up the Buchanan Street steps as members of Glasgow’s Kurdish community demonstrated against the recent Turkish attacks in North-East Syria.
Various people took to the microphone to deliver speeches, poetry and music. Among the speakers were trade union representatives from UNISON and the Scottish Tenants Organisation who showed their support and condemned Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US troops in the region and the subsequent Turkish invasion.
But the most prominent voices were those of the Kurdish community, who called on Europeans and the UN to “open their eyes” to see “who are the real terrorists”. One speaker said:
“We are not allowed to speak our language, to play our music, to share our culture.
“This is a fight for democracy. It is a fight for freedom.”
The demonstration was run by Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, an organisation co-founded by Roza Salih, a campaigner and human rights activist in Glasgow:
“We really appreciate the Scottish community and different organisations who came along to support the Kurdish people.
“It’s just such a shame when we see that the Western world have abandoned the Kurdish people and we want the UN to speak up to support the Kurds and condemn this Turkish invasion.”
A petition was passed around demanding the UK Government stop selling weapons to Turkey, who is a member of NATO. It also appealed for emergency aid for people in Rojava, a no fly-zone above the region to stop airstrikes, and for the UK Government to adopt an official foreign policy in support of the Kurdish people.
The SDF and YPG were vital Western allies in defeating ISIS, whose resurgence is feared now Kurdish guards must leave to fight against Turkish military.
President Erdogan says the operation aims to remove the YPG “terrorists” controlling the region in order to build a twenty-mile-deep “safe zone” to house 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.
International communities are condemning this as ethnic cleansing that will lead to Kurdish genocide. The UN estimates so far 100,000 people have fled their homes in North-East Syria to escape bombardment since the offensive began last week.