Melbourne, October 13th, 2015: Activists from Rojava Solidarity Australia disrupted the opening of a cultural event sponsored by the Turkish government. The event 'Sufi Music Ensemble & Whirling Dervishes Melbourne Show' was held at the Melbourne Town Hall and was sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Embassy in Canberra. Mid-way through a speech by a representative of the Turkish government, two activists made their way to the front of the stage and unfurled a banner that read: "STOP TURKISH STATE TERROR" and shouted slogans that included "Turkey supports ISIS", "Turkey is at war with it's own people", "Long live the Kurdish people" and "Who bombed Ankara" before being roughly ejected by security. Unfortunately video footage of the action was accidentally deleted during the scuffle with security. While the majority of the audience were hostile towards the action there was a smattering of applause from people who obviously approved of the action. Here is a statement from Rojava Solidarity Australia explaining the reasons behind their action:
STOP TURKISH STATE TERROR!
We have interrupted this event due to it being sponsored by the Turkish government. The Turkish government is currently waging a campaign of terror against the Kurdish and progressive left movements in Turkey.
This campaign has involved covert support for extremist Islamic organizations such as the so-called Islamic State; mass arrests and imprisonment of Kurdish and left-wing activists, community leaders and politicians; mass censorship and restrictions against social and news media; maintaining a military blockade that prevents humanitarian aid from reaching the Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava in Syria that is under constant attack by IS; the murder of prominent Kurdish and left-wing activists; launching airstrikes against Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq who have been one of the most effective fighting forces worldwide against IS; and most disturbing of all - facilitating terrorist attacks against peaceful and democratic protests.
The most recent of these attacks took place on the 10th of October in Ankara, Turkey's capital. At least 128 people were killed and hundreds more were injured when twin explosions hit a peace rally organized by the trade union movement. The Turkish state's immediate reaction following this horrific attack was to order it's security forces to deploy tear gas and water cannon against people rendering aid to the survivors and to implement a media blackout on reporting about the attack as well as blocking it's citizens from accessing Twitter and Facebook. The government then went on to make the outrageous claim that Kurdish or left-wing groups could have been behind the attack and to impose further restrictions on reporting or releasing information related to the attack.
The Australian government regularly makes grandiose announcements and engages in much media posturing regarding it's supposed involvement and commitment to the so-called 'War On Terror' - in particular the war against the Islamic State. However, the Australian government maintains normal relations with the Turkish state - a state that routinely terrorizes it's own population and covertly funds and arms the Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front and other violent Islamic fundamentalist groups that are currently terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq. The Australian government also lists the PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) as a 'terrorist' organization at the behest of the Turkish government. It is widely recognized throughout the world that the PKK is currently one of the most effective fighting forces worldwide against the Islamic State. The PKK are also recognized worldwide for their heroic role in the rescue of thousands of Yazidi people from the Islamic State on Mt Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Australian government is demonstrating via it's actions that it's only real commitment to combating IS is to use them as a convenient specter on the domestic front in order to stifle dissent, increase surveillance of it's citizens and further restrict freedom of speech. By maintaining normal relations with the Turkish state, Australia is in fact aiding the Islamic State and other extremist fundamentalist terror groups - making a complete mockery of it's supposed commitment to the 'War On Terror.'
STOP THE TURKISH STATE'S WAR AGAINST IT'S OWN POPULATION!
END AUSTRALIAN COOPERATION WITH THE CRIMINAL ERDOGAN REGIME!
SOLIDARITY WITH THE KURDISH STRUGGLE AND THE PROGRESSIVE LEFT MOVEMENT IN TURKEY!
Rojava Solidarity Australia