Blog: Our demands – condemning the invasion and suspending the arms trade

This afternoon I wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to take immediate and decisive action to halt the government of Turkey’s outrageous invasion of north east Syria. This follows the letter I wrote to the Foreign Secretary earlier this week. We stand with the Kurdish community and other minorities already suffering in the region who will be the victims of this further destabilisation.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave the area, exacerbating a conflict which has resulted in the displacement of over 12 million people.

All this takes place at a time when the UK government are trying to deepen their relationship with the authoritarian Turkish regime. Meanwhile the Turkish government have become a significant buyer of UK arms. Whilst the Foreign Secretary has expressed his disappointment at the military action, and confirmed that the UK does not support it, the government needs to do far more. That’s why I’ve called on them to condemn the invasion, suspend the arms trade with Turkey and work with the international community to take the strongest possible action to bring peace and stability to the region.

The government of Turkey has an appalling human rights record, including for detaining many of its citizens who have called for peace, in previous conflicts, for alleged terrorist offences. I am extremely concerned for the safety of our friends in the progressive trade unions and other human rights defenders in Turkey, who have spoken out against the invasion. They have bravely stood up for what is right, and our union will stand with them in their fight – against aggression and oppression and for justice and freedom for all in the region.