Turkey

On October 9th, Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an invasion into northern Syria. This invasion is an attempt to destroy the political, cultural and economic rights of the Syrian Kurds.

Turkish Armed Forces are the major military power of this initiative, supported by a group of Islamist gangs under the name of the Syrian National Army. Erdoğan’s aim with this operation is to destroy the Kurds. He also opens up space for ISIS to operate.

This is an illegal war that contradicts international treaties.

Exiled conscientious objectors from Turkey published a call to refuse the war in Northern Syria: “Refuse! Resist! Don’t be a soldier!” They declared: “This is an illegal war that contradicts international treaties. Those who make the decision to invade, those who participate in it, and those who offer support should know that they are committing a crime against humanity!”

The military offensive launched into north-eastern Syria without deriving even the slightest lesson from what is happening today, is imposed on the society as if it was an indisputable necessity. Its reason, on the other hand, is quite clear: the political power’s need to manufacture social consent as it struggles with governance problems due to the economic, social and political crisis brought about by the erroneous policies pursued.

At the beginning of March 2018, Ahmet Alcan declared his desertion from the Turkish army, becoming the only person to publicly announce their refusal to take part in the war in Afrin. Ahmet left the army just three days before his deployment. “Together with me two other soldiers were called up. It seems that they have to take part in the operation in Afrin.

Rheinmetall is a German defence and automotive company founded in 1889, and is Germany's biggest arms manufacturer. In the 2017 fiscal year, Rheinmetall's defence sales were €3.036 billion (the automotive segment were €2.861 billion), and the company employs a total of 23,726 people.

Otokar is the biggest private arms company in Turkey, and specialises in military land vehicles such as tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and turret systems. Formed in 1963, the companies vehicles are now in use in 30 different countries, and the company claims there are now over 30,000 Otokar vehicles in service around the world.

On 26-28 May, activists from Greece, Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Cyprus (both south and north) gathered in Nicosia (Cyprus) for a 3-day training, Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation, organised by War Resisters' International. During the training, participants explored gendered dimensions of youth militarisation within their societies as well as discussing how to work internationally to counter these processes.

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