ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurds in Germany have launched a hunger strike in front of the Turkish embassy in Cologne to protest Turkey’s ongoing occupation of Afrin.
About two dozen people, young and old, are currently on the fourth day of their hunger strike. The activists say they are unhappy with the Turkish government’s assault and occupation of the former Kurdish-held enclave in northwestern Syria.
Besir Betal, one of the activists taking part in the hunger strike, told Kurdistan 24 he is doing so to bring the voices of the people of Afrin to the international community.
“We are doing this on behalf of the Kurds in Afrin. Here, today, we are their voices. We are their representatives in Europe, in Germany,” Betal stated.
“We are here, in front of the Turkish embassy, to bring light to the injustice and oppression of the Turkish state against the people of Afrin.”
Since Turkey’s three-month-long military operation into Afrin – which began in January 2018 and ended in March – there have been hundreds of protests across the world against the Turkish incursion.
Kurds in Europe, specifically in Germany, have faced many obstacles when organizing protests and rallies. Eli Caer, a Kurdish diplomat in Germany, says the activists have found it chellenging to gain strong support for their cause.
“There are some groups [in Germany] who are displeased when the Kurds protest for their freedom and rights,” he told Kurdistan 24. “Secondly, there is little support from political parties in Germany.”
The Turkish occupation of Afrin led to the displacement of 140,000 Kurds and the killing of thousands more. Critics also accuse the Turkish state of leading a sustained campaign of demographic change as well as attempting to annex the region.
(Additional reporting by Kawa Mohammed Amin)