US Backs Turkish President After Abuses & Terrorist Backing
New York, Sep. 25, 2017– Erdoğan supporters once again attacked Americans on Thursday, as they peacefully protested the Turkish president’s human rights abuses and support of terrorist groups in a speech given at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The identities of the attackers are still unknown, and numerous videos show that there was no violence from the demonstrators, who were repeatedly punched and kicked while being dragged out. There were 7 demonstrators, including Robert Amos, Azad Kurd, Rojhat Amed, Nicholas Johnson, Meghan Bodette, and Lucas Chapman.
In May, Erdoğan’s bodyguards and supporters attacked peaceful demonstrators outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., leaving 9 injured. A Washington D.C. grand jury later indicted 15 Turkish security officials and four others. Erdoğan’s visits brought attacks in 2016 in D.C. and in 2011, at the UN General Assembly, as well.
Lucas Chapman was the first demonstrator to stand up on Thursday, a board member of North American Kurdish Alliance (NAKA) and a former YPG volunteer. The YPG are the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, part of the the US-backed, secular Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are fighting ISIS and other jihadist groups in northern Syria.
“One of the reasons I decided to stand up to the dictator Erdoğan,” Chapman explained, “was his hand in the death of American YPG volunteer, Michael Israel, who was murdered in a Turkish airstrike near the city of Manbij in late 2016. I wore a picture of Israel on my shirt during the action.”
NAKA board member, Meghan Bodette brought the flag of the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), saying she wanted to “highlight the resistance of women who struggle against fascism, terrorism, and dictatorship in Rojava, Western Kurdistan, and the women of the Kurdish revolution as a whole.” The Federation of Northern Syria, defended by the SDF, represents a stabilizing and liberatory force in the region, with a unique system of grassroots democracy, pluralism, ecology, and gender-equality.
Erdoğan continues to attack the Kurds, killing civilians and committing Geneva Conventions violations, such as burning crops, while supporting jihadist groups, including ISIS, as enemies of the Kurds. About 20% of the population of Turkey is Kurdish, in the occupied area of southeast Turkey, Bakurê (Northern) Kurdistanê. Turkish occupied Kurdistan experiences extreme repression, murder, bombings, and arrests from the Erdoğan regime. Erdoğan’s repression isn’t limited to Kurds, as his regime jails and murders journalists, political opposition, and other ethnic and religious minorities. Erdoğan used an attempted coup in 2016 to crack down on opposition and tighten his grip. He has since jailed thousands of academics, judges, and elected officials, especially from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.