Stop Arming Turkish Aggression

Thanks to Billy Knox Photography

The merchants of death have set up their stalls in our back yard, courtesy of Glasgow City Council, and we brought our banner and flags to join the protest. People from many different groups came together to show anger and disgust at the presence of the arms fair in the SECC, and it was good to see Kurdish and Palestinian flags flying together. There are so many parallels between Erdogan’s treatment of the Kurds and Netanyahu’s treatment of the Palestinians, and it is important to expose the hypocrisy of both Erdogan’s professed support for the Palestinians and Netanyahu’s claims to care about the Kurds.

There was an impromptu speech on behalf of the Kurdish community and Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

and we handed out close to 200 leaflets. This is what they said:

STOP ARMING TURKISH AGGRESSION

At least two of the firms exhibiting in the SECC have made weapons for Turkey. Turkey has become increasingly authoritarian. Anyone who criticises the government can lose their job or even be sent to prison for ‘terrorism’. You can be arrested simply for singing a Kurdish song.

In SE Turkey, the Turkish military has inflicted collective punishment on Kurdish towns, reducing them to rubble and displacing hundreds of thousands of Kurdish civilians. And Turkey is intervening in both Syria and Iraq. Earlier this year, Turkey carried out an unprovoked attack on the previously peaceful, predominantly Kurdish, region of Afrin in Northern Syria. Turkey allied with radical jihadists and boasted of their plans for clearing the area of its Kurdish population. Before this attack, Afrin was a place where different communities lived in harmony and women could take a full part in community life. Now, over 100,000 Afrin residents have become refugees, and among those who remain, Kurds and non-Muslims are persecuted, women must stay inside and veil, and rape, kidnapping and looting are rife. Meanwhile, the fight against ISIS has been set back as Kurdish fighters were diverted to protect their homeland. And Turkey now threatens to move further into Syria.

Despite all this, the UK Government regard Turkey as a ‘priority market’ for arms exports. One of Teresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was helping to arrange a £100 million deal for BAE SYSTEMS to assist Turkey develop new fighter jets.

The Italian arms firm, LEONARDO has had a long partnership with Turkey and makes laser targeting systems in its Edinburgh factory. These are used on the F16 fighters that attacked the Kurds in Afrin. Leonardo has received £6 million of Scottish Enterprise funding.

These companies, and those who support them, have blood on their hands.

P.S. Here’s more from Common Space

And Glasgow City Councils promise not to host another arms fair

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