October 13, 2019: The Canadian union of Public Employees – Ontario strongly condemns invasion of North-Syria by the government of Turkey. Turkish armed forces have been bombarding Kurdish regions in North-Syria since October 9th, which has caused many civilian casualties. We have been informed that a large number of people are fleeing the area.

CUPE Ontario echoes serious concerns by the international labour movement and human rights’ organizations including our colleagues at the European Public Service Union (EPSU), which includes Turkish trade unions such as KESK and DISK, about the disaster and humanitarian catastrophe in the making if the invasion is not stopped immediately.

This military invasion is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous for the entire region. The immediate casualties of this invasion will be the Kurdish people and communities in North Syria, including Rojava, and the working class and ordinary people in Syria, Turkey and the neighbouring counties.

It is important to emphasize that KESK, DISK and other trade unions in Turkey have made it clear that “This is not the time of silence”.  In recent public statements they have stated that the main problem in Turkey is the record-breaking unemployment, millions of impoverished people, the destruction of democracy and justice, and the discriminatory, polarizing and marginalizing policies that stand together against the hope of living in peace. As EPSU reported “The Turkish government has attempted to silence critical voices speaking out against war in the past, like those of doctors, the Academics for Peace and union and civil society leaders. People were arrested for their critique”.

CUPE Ontario reiterate deep concerns by the labour movement internationally that this invasion could undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS in the region. We therefore call on the government of Turkey to stop invasion of North Syria and unconditionally withdraw its armed forces from the entire region. We also call on the Canadian government, UN and all labour and other concerned organizations and individuals internationally to strongly condemn this military invasion and take any necessary steps to help stop the war.

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