FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2018
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-2622
Ottawa – Since Turkey’s January 20th attack on Syria’s Northwestern city of Afrin, the situation in the predominantly Kurdish populated area is worsening at a rapid race, with threats issued by Erdogan that he plans to move the offensive even further to mainland Syria.
“The current situation in Afrin is yet another example of Turkey’s destructive presence in the region and a chilling reminder that Erdogan’s regime carries out its aggression against the Kurds and other minorities with impunity and negligence to international law” said Shahen Mirakian, president of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC).
Since the beginning of hostilities, more than 100 people have lost their lives, with countless other men, women and children left injured and unattended, due to the lack of humanitarian aid and international assistance.
In a letter addressed to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, ANCC called upon the Canadian government to exert the necessary pressure to ensure Turkey ceases all hostilities and immediately withdraws from the region.
In a failing attempt to increase his already unstable popularity at home, Erdogan is using his foreign military offensives to divert the international community’s attention from his abysmal human rights record at home.
“It is beyond unacceptable for our government and for the rest of the international community to simply express concern for what is taking place, without taking specific action to put an end to what has become the biggest threat in the region, after ISIS”
The characteristics and tactics used by Erdogan’s army to attack Afrin share a frightening similarity to his domestic policies of fear, coercion and desire for absolute control. Since July 2016, under the loose cover of the “failed coup attempt”, Erdogan has embarked on a mission to rid his country of any voice that stands in his way to absolute autocracy. With thousands of civil society and academic voices silenced, and a similar number of opposition leaders behind bars, Erdogan has cleared himself of all checks and balances, coupled with absolute ignorance to international laws and standards.
“This once considered western ally is drifting further and further from the west each and every day” said Mirakian.
“Our government’s response regarding the current situation is not reflective of what we, as Canadians have always stood for. Therefore, strong action to immediately condemn and halt these actions is what will be applauded and praised and not the sheer expression of concern”, concluded Mirakian.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Armenian-Canadian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Armenian-Canadian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.