“Boycott Turkey” launches campaign around the globe to boycott Turkey, end war

“Boycott Turkey” website has launched a campaign to boycott all Turkish events and institutions and made a call to stop the war on northeastern Syria where about 160 leading scholars and academics in different fields and areas of the world have partaken in till now.

A group of leading scholars, academics and intellectuals has launched a campaign on “Boycott Turkey” website calling on academics, artists and intellectuals around the world to oppose the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria by boycotting Turkish government sponsored academic, artistic and musical events taking place inside and outside of Turkey.

The statement included:

Call to Boycott Turkish Government Sponsored Academic and Cultural Institutions

We call on academics, artists and intellectuals around the world to oppose the Turkish invasion of

northeastern Syria by boycotting Turkish government sponsored academic, artistic and musical

events taking place inside and outside of Turkey.

Background to the Call to Academic and Cultural Boycott

The Turkish state’s invasion of northeastern Syria has brought a dangerous state of war to the only

relatively stable region in the country, threatening the lives of thousands with indiscriminate

shelling, mass displacement and continuous bombardment. The Turkish attack threatens to do

enormous, perhaps irreversible, damage to international standards of law, human rights and human

freedom. It also threatens to destroy a unique experiment in feminist social transformation.

Sadly, there have been numerous cases of invading armies committing war crimes over the last

century; but it is rare indeed for the commander to openly declare ethnic cleansing and war crimes

as the main objective of his military operation and for the “international community” to respond

with almost universal silence—or even support. This is a direct and explicit attempt to change the

rules on the ground.

Turkish President R. T. Erdoğan has stated explicitly and repeatedly that it is his intention to

militarily ethnically cleanse the Kurdish population of over one million people that live in an arc

across the Turkish border from Kobane to Derik and to replace that population with members of

different ethnic groups. One year ago, similar declarations were made before invading Afrin,

another Kurdish-majority region in Syria. Since then, the originally 95 percent Kurdish population

of Afrin has been reduced to a minority, with thousands killed or driven from their homes and the

Kurdish language banned in schools. The municipality is now governed by jihadist groups backed

by Turkey.

In other words, Erdoğan has declared his intention to violate three different key principles of

international law clearly established in the Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg War Crimes

Tribunals: 1. The crime of aggression 2. The crime of ethnic cleansing 3. The crime of resettling

populations in conquered territory—even now his forces are using NATO-supplied weaponry to

illegally bomb churches, hospitals, cultural monuments and civilian infrastructure.

Despite all this, the UN security council has failed to condemn the invasion and most national

governments have taken no practical steps to stop it. This could be the end of the Nuremberg

Principles, which, although often violated in practice, were at least recognized by all international

actors as the principles that should govern military conflicts. Acts previously considered outrageous,

even genocidal, risk being normalized.

What has been happening in Rojava for the last seven years—the attempt to create a society based

on bottom-up, direct democracy, the liberation of women, and ecological principles as essential to

any conception of human liberation—is, ultimately, the real threat to authoritarians like Erdogan,

indeed, to authoritarians everywhere, and the real basis for their endless talk of “security concerns.”

Anyone who dares attempt an experiment that puts women at the heart of the liberation process

must be punished so severely that no one will even think about doing it again. We, the undersigned,

must object. The Rojava experiment may be imperfect in a number of ways, as any such experiment

must be, but it holds out the prospect of changing the game and creating new rights and freedoms

rather than robbing us of what little freedom we have. It is important to humanity everywhere that

such spaces of hope are preserved.

After almost a week of Turkish state occupation, the region faces more uncertainties than ever

before. Under these circumstances we call on the international academy to clearly state their

committed opposition to the occupation and their solidarity with peoples of Rojava.

Implementation of the Boycott

One of the goals of this call is to encourage dialogue about human rights grounded in a set of shared

principles. To this end, our call is directed to academic and cultural institutions. The boycott we are

calling for does not preclude communication and collaboration with individual Turkish scholars or

democratic institutions/journals. Turkish scholars will be welcome to attend academic events, using

institutional funding to do where appropriate, to publish in academic journals and to take part in

other activities as individuals.

This is also a call for cultural workers and cultural organizations to boycott events, activities,

agreements or projects involving Turkish government or government-funded cultural institutions.

International venues and festivals are asked to reject funding and any form of sponsorship from the

Turkish government.

This is also a call for people to actively promote the ideas embodied by Rojava. As such, the signatories commit themselves to stimulating transnational intellectual and public awareness of and

sensitivity to the situation in northeastern Syria/Rojava by organizing concerted on- and off-campus

teach-ins, panels, vigils, concerts, art exhibits, etc., as well as developing solidarity networks and

joint-action campaigns with existing academic and public initiatives that target processes of neoimperialism, settler colonialism, racism, militarism and sexism in various contexts.

The link to the campaign is:


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