DSA IC Condemns NATO and US Complicity in Turkey’s Aggression in Syria and Iraq

DSA IC condemns Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO predicated on expanded oppression of Kurdish activists and increased weapons sales to Turkey. The IC calls for the withdrawal of all NATO member forces from Syria and Iraq and the end of US and Turkish military operations in these states. The IC supports ending sanctions against the Syrian people, delisting the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) as a terrorist organization, and resuming peace talks to ensure Syrian territorial integrity and AANES autonomy.

On June 28th, 2022, Turkey, Finland, and Sweden issued a trilateral memorandum outlining the terms under which Turkey agreed to drop its objection to Finland and Sweden entering NATO.  Under this memorandum, Finland and Sweden have agreed to assist Turkey in its continued oppression of Kurdish people, including listing the PKK as a terrorist organization, changing national laws defining terrorist activities, and agreeing to deport individuals sought by the Turkish state. Turkey has continually leveraged its power as a NATO member to gain leeway to attack diverse communities in Syria and Iraq – Kurds, Yezidis, Armenians, Syriac-Assyrians, Turkmens, Arabs, and others – and is charged with committing ethnic cleansing and war crimes in territories it occupies. The IC condemns NATO’s push for expansion which has extended Turkey’s reach to diaspora communities in Sweden and Finland who now face the possibility of repression and extradition, adding to NATO’s long history of fueling fascistic policies and movements in Turkey.

While NATO postures as a defensive alliance supporting sovereign integrity, NATO members Turkey and the United States are currently occupying Iraq and Syria and continue to conduct military operations despite calls from the Syrian government and Iraqi parliament for these forces to withdraw. A decade into the illegal US-led intervention, some 1000 US troops continue to be stationed across dozens of US controlled bases in Syria, occupying territory to steal Syrian oil and committing countless war crimes over the years against Syrian civilians, as well as aiding ongoing Israeli attacks against Syria. The US supplies 63% of Turkish arms imports and plans to expand its already considerable military support. President Biden recently endorsed the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, a deal put on hold after tensions over Turkish acquisitions of advanced Russian air defense systems. The IC calls for an end to US arms sales to Turkey and reiterates the demands of the Iraqi and Syrian governments for unauthorized foreign forces to leave their lands.

The IC supports Progressive International’s recent call to delist the PKK as a terrorist organization. The designation of the PKK’s armed struggle for self-determination as terrorism is used to provide domestic and international justification for Turkey’s wars against the peoples of Iraq and Syria, for crackdowns on Kurds and socialists within its borders, and for NATO governments’ repression of Kurdish and Turkish diaspora communities. In addition, US Ceasar Act sanctions enact a murderous cost on civilians in Syria already devastated by a decade of war. The IC condemns the use of unilateral sanctions and other forms of economic imperialism against the people of Syria and calls for an end to the ongoing US and NATO assisted illegal intervention that has devastated the country and impeded the prospect of a peaceful resolution.