ICTU Condemns Attacks on North-East Syria

11 Oct 2019

Turkey Syria Attacks

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions condemns the completely senseless attack by Turkey in Northern Syria. The attacks are deeply concerning as it will only lead to major suffering for the Kurdish community and other minorities and further destablises the region.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) condemns the unjustified attacks in recent days on the north-east region of Syria perpetuated by the Turkish Government. We join with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in calling on European leadership to do everything within their power to dissuade Turkey from its ongoing military action in Northern Syria.

It is evident that this action by Turkey has been designed to destabilise Rojava, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, as part of hostility by the Turkish government under President Erdogan to its own Kurdish ethnic minority and to Kurdish movement for national recognition.

These attacks put in jeopardy the stability gained in defeating ISIS and will have major humanitarian ramifications. The majority Kurdish population will suffer the most.

Furthermore, it is an appalling breach of trust for the United States to abandon allies who were on the frontline in the fight against ISIS in Northern Syria.

These attacks by Turkey are completely senseless at a time when world leaders should be coming together to establish a political transition to peace and democracy that will allow millions of displaced Syrians to voluntarily return without fear of further violence.

The Turkish government’s plan to force Syrian refugees into a farcically named ‘safe zone’ proves it is completely irresponsible for the EU to deport people to Turkey under any circumstances. The actions in recent days breach not only International law but also the EU-Turkey migration deal in relation to the humanitarian reception and assistance for Syrian refugees, for which the EU has earmarked payment to Turkey of six billion euro.

The European Union needs to step into the breach to uphold human rights and international law. The EU should at least match the sanctions being proposed in the US, and should threaten to place major trade sanctions on Turkey if it persists with this violence.

ICTU calls on the Irish government to condemn the actions of Turkey, and to urgently request the EU to put in place an emergency plan to help those refugees now in Turkish camps and those who will inevitably be displaced and to bring a resolution to the European Council next week to impose sanctions on Turkey in response to their military aggression.

For further information contact David Joyce, ICTU Equality and International Development Officer on 087 2260213