Who are we?
The UK Boycott Turkey Campaign is a broad, grassroots campaign fighting for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against the oppressive Turkish state. We believe that the authoritarian and racist regime in Turkey is a threat to democracy, human rights and the lives of the peoples of Turkey, Kurdistan and beyond. In the fight for a better world it is vital that we all take a stand against repressive states like Turkey.
This campaign was set up following a broad consensus from Kurdish and Turkish civil society groups calling for international solidarity and action against the regime. Some key examples of the mandate for a global boycott campaign include;
– Calls from the KCDK-E (the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress) to boycott products and services which support the Turkish state’s illegal war on Kurds.
– The academic boycott called by academics in Turkey facing state repression.
– Campaigns in Kurdistan to boycott Turkey
– This campaign was launched by the UK Kurdish People’s Assembly and solidarity activists in response to the various calls for boycotts. The campaign continues to be organised in close collaboration between activists and the UK’s Kurdish communities.
As an anti-racist campaign we believe that fighting all forms of racism is a vital part of any solidarity campaign. It should be clear that the issue is with the dictatorial Turkish state and AKP-MHP regime, and not Turkish communities who are often victims of the regime’s brutality. This is why we think it is important to work with campaigns like SPOT (Solidarity with the Peoples of Turkey) and to ensure our work is based on a mandate from communities affected by Turkish state violence, and rooted in principles of anti-racism.
The Turkish state has a long history of systematic racism and state violence against Kurds and others. The current regime, a coalition led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party with the far-right and ultranationalist MHP, has seen this authoritariansm grow at an alarming rate. The regime is quick to imprison political opponents who dare criticise the state or its wars against Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Academics, journalists and elected politicians have been jailed simply for using their democratic right to speak out. The regime also violently suppresses ethnic and religious minorities. Kurds in particular face police brutality, state violence and charges of terrorism simply for existing. Even singing or writing in Kurdish has been punished with incarceration under terrorism charges.
The regime does not restrict this authoritarian violence to its own borders and has waged a long and brutal war against Kurds, Yazidis and other communities in Iraq and Syria. Such violence includes ethnic cleansing, deliberately targeting civilians, kidnapping of women, the weaponisation of water and other natural resources, and acts of senseless brutality. The Turkish state often supports Jihadist groups including ISIS to wage war against Kurds and others. The regime has particularly focused on attacking the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, a bastion of grassroots, multi-ethnic, ecological and feminist democracy.
We believe it is important to stand against these horrific injustices and offer solidarity to the peoples of Turkey, Kurdistan and the wider region who suffer from the brutal oppression of the Turkish state. Just as millions stood against the horrors of apartheid in South Africa and many continue similar struggles in solidarity with Palestine, we believe a boycott campaign is vital in efforts to provide solidarity.
Click here to read more reasons to boycott Turkey.
Why the UK?
Like many states, the UK has long been complict in aiding the Turkish state despite the regime’s continued brutality. Turkey is considered a “key market” for the export of arms from the UK, many companies in the UK also have strong links to key sectors of the Turkish economy which are directly linked to funding the state’s anti-democratic actions and war crimes. For example, the UK has strong links to the Turkish tourism industry, which is tightly controlled by the state and directly funds Turkish military forces.
Just as activists in the UK have played a key role in BDS campaigns to resist apartheid in South Africa and Israel, we believe such campaigns are a vital part of solidarity with resistance to the regime in Turkey. Our actions in the UK have impacts across the globe and, as history has shown, if we organise in soldiarity we can make a real difference in the fight against injustice.
How can I get involved?
The campaign has several key strands: Stop Arming Turkey, Don’t Holiday in Turkey, Boycott Turkish Companies and Products, the Academic Boycott, and the Cultural Boycott. There are a great variety of things you can do to support the campaign. Each of the pages linked above contain a wealth of resources and information for action.
We encourage supporters to setup local groups in their own communities. For example, students may want to start local campaigns targeting their own institution’s links to Turkey. If you want help or support you can always get in contact with the campaign here. As a broad grassroots campaign, we encourage groups to organise democratically in their own contexts whilst remaining committed to the principles of the broader campaign.
You can follow us on social media, (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for continued updates about the situation in Turkey and actions you can take to help resist the regime. Spreading the word about this campaign on social media and in person to your friends, family and communities is an important action you can take to help grow this campaign.
If you have any information, ideas or skills you feel could help the campaign you can contact us here.