Kongra Star Letter and Call to Solidarity Against the Kobane Trial

To those seeking freedom, democracy and women’s liberation everywhere,

On May 16th, the eight year long Kobane trial ended in long prison sentences for many Kurdish politicians, some of whom have already been in prison since 2016. The former co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were sentenced to over 40 and 30 years in prison respectively. Zeynep Karaman, an activist from the Kurdish women’s movement, was sentenced toover 20 years. They were tried on the basis of calling for protests in support of Kobane, when it was attacked by ISIS in 2014.

As the Kongra Star women’s movement, we see the trial as an attack on women around the world as well as on the women’s revolution in North and East Syria.

The Kobane war, and the victory of the YPG and YPJ, became famous for the heroic role women played. Women commanders and militants waged a historic battle to liberate the city, and shed their blood to halt the further advance of ISIS, an enemy to women and peoples. It was a turning point in the defeat of ISIS, who were sowing terror in the region. Arin Mirkan, who blew herself up underneath an enemy tank, became a global symbol of resistance. People all around the world, including in Turkey, were in awe of the defiance and courage shown by Kurdish women fighters. The trial and its decision are committing a heavy injustice against their legacy and against women’s liberation everywhere.

The battle for Kobane also showed Turkey’s support for ISIS to the whole world. The Turkish state wants to eradicate the achievements of the women’s revolution in North and East Syria, and the democratic system being built there, which is a threat to its authoritarian and expansionist politics. Once again, this becameobvious through the trial, and is continually shown through Turkey’s drone war on women revolutionaries in Rojava.

This year in February, a Turkish drone murdered two YPJ commanders who ran the Federation for the Wounded from War in Qamishlo: Sorxwîn Rojhilat and Azadî Dêrik. In 2014, Sorxwîn Rojhilat played a decisive role as a commander in Kobane, and was injured heavily while protecting the city. Her feminicide adds to the long list of targeted assassinations of political women by Turkey. Just like the trial, it is an attack on women’s freedom and an attempt to re-write history to make the world forget about women’s resistance in Kobane.

In effect, the trial’s verdict exonerates the crimes of the Islamic State and finds Kurdish politicians guilty of defending freedom and democracy. Kongra Star joins many lawyers’ and human rights’ organizations in condemning the verdict as illegitimate and politically motivated. The aim of the trial is to annihilate a whole politics of resistance to fascism: both the fascism of the AKP-MHP regime which seeks to exterminate Kurdish people and women’s struggle, as well as the fascism of ISIS, which is a global threat to humanity.

We call on democratic and freedom-seeking people worldwide to show solidarity with the politicians who are criminalized and imprisoned unjustly. It is not a crime to support the fight against ISIS! Solidarity with resistance in the prisons! Long live YPJ and the resistance against Daesh!

Kongra Star


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