Activists in Germany march for Afrin

People all over the world took to the street on Saturday in solidarity with the women of Afrin. Activists denounce the systematic gender-based violence as a tool of Turkish warfare and occupation and demand the condemnation of Erdoğan.

People all over the world took to the streets on Saturday to send a signal against the ongoing Turkish occupation of Afrin and to express their solidarity with the people of the formerly self-governing canton in Rojava. Solidarity was above all directed to the women who want a self-determined life free from Islamism and oppression. Afrin has been under Turkish jihadist occupation for three years now.

The once safest region in all of Syria, which in the power vacuum created by the crisis not only managed to free itself from the rule of the Baath regime, but also to establish grassroots, ecological and gender-free society, has now been destroyed. Everyday life is shaped by violence, strict Islamist Sharia rules and a resettlement policy promoted with the tolerance of the international community.

The situation is particularly dramatic for women and girls: human rights organizations have documented rape, sexual violence, kidnapping, ransom extortion and the targeted murder of women almost on a daily basis. Afrin is the example of the consequences of the long-term occupation by the Turkish army and its mercenaries.

Rally in Freiburg

The day of action for Afrin was promoted by a total of fifty Kurdish parties and organizations together with the Europe-wide alliance “Democratic Union of Forces”. The initiative was not only intended to draw attention to the invasion and demand its end. The organizations want to expose the systematic gender-based violence as a tool of warfare and occupation in Afrin. They underlined that femicide is on the same level as genocide. The Kurdish women's movement in Europe (TJK-E) wants to see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the dock in The Hague.

Demonstration in Oldenburg

With this in mind, Saturday's actions paid particular attention to the “100 reasons to condemn the dictator” campaign. The initiative launched by the TJK-E aims at the international recognition of femicide as a crime against humanity and at bringing Erdoğan to trial.