Hundreds of trade union and political party members took to the street of Pretoria on Thursday in protest against Turkey’s military operation against Kurds in Syria.
The protesters first gathered outside the United States embassy to protest against that country’s blockade of Cuba, before they made their way to Turkey’s embassy.
“The picket at the Turkish embassy is for the withdrawal of Turkey and all foreign militaries from their invasion of both the North Eastern region and Syria in general as well as to demand an end to the ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people.” The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) announced the protests yesterday.
“The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted with grave disappointment, that the plight of the Kurdish people in North Eastern Syria continues to worsen daily” @_cosatu tweeted.
“Activists are now invading the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, calling for recognition of the Kurds’ right to self determination, unconditional release of Abdullah Ocalan who has been in prison for 20 years and implementation of the United Nation’s Mandela Rules.”
The South African Communist Party (SACP) shared their twitter message.
The SACP also protested “US’s unilateral and criminal economic embargo they’ve imposed on Cuba for 58 years.”
SACP Linda Jabane District Chairperson, Vhonani Masindi, lead the program at the Turkish Embassy in solidarity with the Kurdish people.
Some leaders from the Zimbabwe and Swaziland communist parties also joined the picket at Turkish Embassy.
“Zimbabwe Communist Party’s National Commissary, Cde Ian Beddowes, presents a message of support in the call for recognition of the Kurds’ right to self-determination,” the SACP tweeted.
Speaking to IPA.news, head of the Turkish Solidarity Network, Lucky Lukhele said that “today was a historic day for the people in solidarity with Turkish people who have been subjected to inhuman and barbaric, brutality by President Erdogan”.
Lukhele mentioned that members of COSATU, mainly NEHAWU, SACP, other members of the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC), Swaziland Solidarity Network all joined the protest outside of the Turkish embassy.
“The protest was a symbol that the ANC first must rescind its agreement that was signed by its Secretary-General Ace Magashule with current Turkey’s ruling party of Erdogan.”
Lukhele said that ANC has no historical ties with AKP and that the ANC’s International Community and National Executive Committee knew nothing of the MOU.
Turkey must release all innocent people from prisons
Lukhele shared his feeling that “Erdogan now has even invaded Syria in an imperialistic way with his Islamic fundamentalism, therefore people said here that Turkey must get out of Syria and Turkey must release all those innocent people arrested under coup engineered by himself, so that President Erdogan that can justify his brutality.”
Lukhele urged the Erdogan regime to release all academics, civil servants, teachers unconditionally and stop arresting family members for being associated with their parents.
“These arrests must tell the world that Erdogan is a criminal that hides behind the coup attempt.”
He questioned why “Erdogan, do you go and arrest innocent children and mothers and some of them are pregnant and sickly, homes are left for criminals for what they want?”
He labelled Erdogan “a criminal and international terrorist.”
The ANC signed a memorandum of understanding with the AKP in August this year.
Some South African unions and journalists have been critical of ANC’s agreement with AKP.
Despite the criticism, the ANC continues to develop relations with Turkey’s ruling party.
A large AKP delegation led by Cevdet Yilmaz, the AKP Deputy Chairman for Foreign Affairs was received at ANC headquarters on November 4. The Turkish delegation hosted by ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule.