Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Melbourne: Protest by Pink Bloc at the Turkish Consulate in Solidarity with LGBTI Peace Initiative

On Tuesday, May 10th a demonstration was held outside the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne by Pink Bloc Narrm / Melbourne calling for an end to the Turkish state's war against the Kurds. The protest was organized in response to an international call for action from LGBTİ Barış Girişimi (LGBTI Peace Initiative) in Turkey. Pink Bloc were also joined by members of Rojava Solidarity Worldwide and Australians For Kurdistan. Speaking at the event were Professor John Tully from Victoria University as well as Nae from Pink Bloc and Rojava Solidarity Worldwide.

Here is the brief speech that was given by Nae from Pink Bloc and Rojava Solidarity Worldwide:

We're here in response to a call that was issued recently by the LGBTI Peace Initiative in Turkey.

The LGBTI Peace Initiative are an activist group who are involved in various grassroots anti-sexist, anti-fascist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic and anti-capitalist initiatives. They have been especially active for the past 9 months raising their voices in opposition to the war in Turkey's south east - known to the Kurds as Bakur or Nth Kurdistan and the war in Northern Syria, known to the Kurds as Rojava.

They have lost many comrades to death, torture and imprisonment at the hands of the Turkish state due to the war mentality of President Erdogan's so-called 'Justice & Development Party' that has resulted in a full scale genocidal assault against the Kurdish Freedom Movement and a harsh crackdown on anybody who dares to oppose their brutal policies - including LGBTI activists in Turkey.

To quote the LGBTI Peace Initiative themselves:

"War means continuous discrimination, tyranny and violence against the Other, and a war is being waged on LGBTI people in Turkey. If there is no peace, there is no chance of a free and equal life. Today we believe that peace is an urgent neccessity for everyone in Turkey. The war and violence of the presidential palace feeds on militarism and a patriarchal mindset, it valorizes masculinity and preaches hate. We, as LGBTI people, are united against the war of patriarchy." 

Pink Bloc stand in solidarity with the LGBTI Peace Initiative, the Kurdish Freedom Movement and all progressive organizations in the region and join them in their call for the international community, including people here in Australia, to start putting some serious pressure on the Turkish government to fulfill the following demands:

- A ceasefire with the PKK and a return to peace negotiations

- An end to the isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan so he can resume his role in the peace process

- An immediate halt to all military operations and curfews in Kurdish cities and towns in south east Turkey

- An end to the Turkish state's military and economic blockade of Rojava so that essential humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials can be delivered

- An end to Turkey's covert support of the so-called Islamic State and other extremist groups active in Syria

- And an end to the crackdown on journalism and freedom of expression in Turkey including the right to express dissent


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