About 100 members of the Kurdish community and their supporters rallied in Sydney against the Turkish government's attacks on human rights and for Kurdish freedom on December 18. The rally was held to publicise the recent report on human rights violations in Turkey issued to mark Human Rights Week.
The report by the Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) give an "alarming" summary of attacks on democratic liberties by the Turkish state this year. These included hundreds of extrajudicial murders by military, police and right-wing militia forces; torture in prisons; attacks on Kurdish villages and communities; arrests and banning of opposition party councillors; suppression of freedom of the press; repression of Kurdish and other dissident activists in Turkey; and murders and ill-treatment of women and children.
The statement continues: "We are calling everyone to participate in the struggle to put an end to the isolation that the Turkish state is imposing on the Kurdish leader [jailed Kurdish People's Party (PKK) spokesperson Ocalan] and to initiate the Kurdish-Turkish peace process. Even though many countries and international associations have called for a peace process, none of them took action when Turkey failed to act on the call.
"We call on all democratic organisations and international foundations to stand against the [governing] Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdogan's dictatorship and support the people resisting for the sake of democracy."
Tony Iltis, speaking on behalf of Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance, pledged "our total support for the people of Kurdistan in their fight for liberation".
He noted the "gross hypocrisy of the international media in condemning ISIS, but saying nothing about the Turkish regime's attacks on the Kurds.”
“The Erdogan government,” he said, “is a major source of terrorism in the region.
"We call on the Australian government to stop aiding Turkey in its war on the Kurds. The PKK needs to be taken off the international terrorism list.
"The Socialist Alliance also recognises the progressive struggle of the Kurdish fighters in Rojava.
“The war against ISIS will be won, not by bombing civilians in Syria, but by stopping those assisting ISIS and materially aiding those such as the Kurds in Rojava who are actually fighting against ISIS on the ground."
Throughout the rally, the crowd chanted: "Down, down, Turkish state", "Turkish state, terrorist state", "Turkey, stop killing civilians" and "Turkey out of Kurdistan".