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Turkish pacifists speak out against military attack on Syria

Poster promoting the Turkish Conscientious Objectors' Association

Turkish pacifists speak out against military attack on Syria

Peace and human rights campaigners in Turkey have condemned the Turkish military offensive in Syria, despite attempts to suppress dissident voices.

In Turkey, the group Vicdani Ret Dernegi (Conscientious Objectors’ Association), a sibling organisation of the Peace Pledge Union in the UK, said they were sadly unsurprised by what is happening.

The Association criticised politicians who “say ‘peace’ on the one hand and support warmongering on the other”.

They added, “We are not surprised that the war plans of the powerful, which will directly affect the lives of millions of people in order to ensure the powerful’s own security, is named peace.”

The Conscientious Objectors’ Association concluded, “No to war! No to every war that will be waged, every occupation that will be made, each and every new missive decision that will be taken for the hegemonic policies of the powerful!

Their approach was backed by War Resisters’ International, a global pacifist network to which both the Conscientious Objectors Association in Turkey and the Peace Pledge Union in the UK are affiliated.

War Resisters’ International said they “strongly condemned” Turkish ongoing military offensive, and expressed worries about reports from inside Turkey of “increasing oppression of the dissident voices opposing the war”. The Peace Pledge Union shares the concerns of War Resisters’ International.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey accused the Turkish government of waging war in order to “manufacture consent” among the Turkish population and divert attention from problems closer to home.

They accused the Erdogan government of attacking “all identities other than the dominant one, notably the Kurds, women and LGBTI+ individuals”.

The Foundation stated, “Peoples in Syria, where all kinds of imperialist/colonialist powers have been involved in since 2011, have experienced so much pain and agony, have been so dehumanized that concepts like human rights and peace have no longer any meaning for them.”

They concluded that commitments to human rights “require us to unconditionally stand against wars because we know that it is, in fact, humanity itself that dies with each shot fired in wars”. They urged “all persons and institutions respecting human rights, democracy and peace to acknowledge the threats we are facing and to protect the ideal of peaceful coexistence, to put in their efforts to stop the military offensive.”