Public Talk: Why Has Turkey Invaded Afrin? Feb 22, London. Speakers include David Graeber, Elif Sarican, Kamran Matin, Mohammed Elnaiem and Ayça Çubukçu

Submitted by Pop in Events

Facebook event:

Marx Memorial Libary, 37A Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU London, United Kingdom 19:00–21:00 UTC

Since the 20th of January 2018, the Kurdish region of Afrin in Rojava, has been invaded by the Turkish State and affiliated jihadists groups, trained and equipped by the Turkish army. Towns and villages, refugee camps, historic and sacred sites are being bombed by Turkish fighter-jets and artillery along with a ground invasion with tanks and mortars. The military attacks are enabled by U.K., U.S. and E.U. military technologies and equipment, through international arms-trades and deals, which are being used against civilians. More than 150 civilians have been reported killed and more than 350 injured in the attack, a lot of the civilians affected are refugees and IDP’s who have fled other parts of Syria for the relative security and stability of Afrin. Every day, civilians are being subjected to new war crimes; women are being raped, sexually assaulted, and their bodies mutilated.

Turkish president Erdogan has long before the invasion of Afrin threatened to attack the US military partner, the Kurdish YPG or People’s Protection Units because Turkey accuses the YPG of being “terrorists”, since they view the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have been waging a struggle for autonomy for Kurds also within Turkey since the 1970’s. While Erdogan sees the invasion of Afrin as “self-defence”, YPG has no interest in Turkey and only wishes to function as a defence force for Syrian Kurds and other ethnicities and minorities living in Rojava. YPG have been setting up local democratic governing councils in each of the towns it has liberated from ISIS. With this invasion, the Turkish state wants to eliminate the autonomy the Kurds have built and deprive them of any rights. This can only mean that the Turkish state views the democratic self-administration of Rojava, which proposes a unique solution model for the Middle East, as a threat, and therefore targets this democratic alternative. Erdogan has explicitly stated that he intends to ‘alter the ethnic composition of Afrin’ which he believes should not be majority Kurdish, this can only mean a campaign of ethnic cleansing is being waged against hundreds of thousands of Kurds and other minorities. With an enormous military force, Erdogan has been given the green light from Russia, who controls the airspace over Afrin, to pursuit its aggression against the Kurds, while the international community is watching silently.

Our distinguished panel will discuss the multi-dimensional dynamics of the Afrin situation and the wider region. Please join us for a much-needed discussion.


Professor David Graeber, is professor of anthropology at the LSE and author of Debt: The First 5000 years; he was involved in the Global Justice Movement and Occupy Wall Street. He visited Rojava, Northern Syria in 2014 on a two-week delegation.

Dr. Kamran Matin, is a senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex, UK. His research investigates the international dimension of social change with a focus on the Middle East. He has published widely on international relations of the Middle East, Iranian history and Kurdish politics.

Mohammed Elnaiem, is an editor at The Region, a news agency which covers developments unfolding in the wider area of West Asia (Middle East). Prior to joining the team at The Region, he conducted an Mphil in the University of Cambridge which was an ethnographic look at the Kurdish Youth Movement in Europe in an effort to find any potential connections between the Kurdish and Black liberation movements.

Elif Sarican, is a MSc Social Anthropology student at the London School of Economics. She is one of the coordiantors of the Kurdistan Students Union in the UK.

Chaired by, Ayca Cubukcu, is Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the author of the forthcoming book, For the Love of Humanity: the World Tribunal on Iraq, which will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press this year.

The event is free of charge. Admission is on a first come basis.



You must log in or register to comment.

There's nothing here…