As thousands of people across the world commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Yazidi genocide, Turkish air strikes continue to target Yazidi communities in the Shengal region. The ISIS genocide of Yazidi communities in Northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan) shocked the world with its utter brutality in 2014.
It is important to remember how the Yazidi communities were not helpless victims (as many in the media have portrayed them) but played an active role in defending themselves against the genocide. Yazidi women played a key role in supporting PKK and YPJ fighters in the battle against ISIS. These groups who played a central part in defeating ISIS are labelled as terrorists by the Turkish state to justify its brutal military actions in Kurdistan.
As the ISIS threat was beaten off a new threat arose with Turkey using the justification of ‘counter-terrorism’ for its air strikes in Northern Iraq. Since 2014 Turkish military forces have relentlessly bombarded Yazidi communities, including civilians and even refugee camps like Maxmur.
Rallies were held across Europe, to remember the femicide and genocide perpetrated by ISIS against Yazidis six years ago in Shengal. Protesters also called for Turkey to be held accountable for its continued war crimes in the Shengal area.
Civil society groups across the world including Kurdish women’s groups in Rojava, Turkey and Iraq made statements expressing solidarity with the Yazidi peoples. The umbrella group for several Kurdish women’s groups, Kongra star, commemorated the Yazidi fight against ISIS and condemned Turkey’s continued violence in Shengal.
Turkey’s links to ISIS and other Jihadist groups have also been well documented. This raises the distinct possibility that Turkish military actions in Kurdistan are a continuation of the genocidal policies of ISIS. A key part of solidarity with Yazidi communities is therefore continued resistance to the regime in Ankara. Crucially, the Turkish state could not carry out its war crimes without arms and support from states like the UK.