Angered by Onslaught in Northern Syria, Iraqi Kurds Push for Boycott of Turkish Goods
A boycott of Turkish goods is gathering pace among Kurds in northern Iraq as anger grows at Ankara’s military onslaught against the Kurdish minority in Syria.
“We can’t reach the front lines to fight the Turkish government with arms, so our weapon is a boycott of Turkish goods,” Hamid Banyee — an Iraqi Kurdish singer and one of the boycott organizers — told the AFP news agency on Sunday.
More than 100,000 civilians have been displaced by Turkey’s intervention in Syria, launched last month after US President Donald Trump announced that American forces would no longer be supporting their long-standing Kurdish allies grouped in the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkish forces have been accused by eyewitnesses of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity. In one gruesome incident on Oct. 23, fighters from a Turkish-backed jihadi group were caught on video mutilating the corpse of a female YPG fighter. The video was captured one week after the killing of Hevrin Khalaf — a prominent female Kurdish politician and women’s rights activist — by Turkish-backed forces in a roadside execution.
Banyee said that the goal of the Iraqi Kurdish boycott campaign was to deal a “fatal blow to the Turkish economy.”
Sirwan Mohammad — head of the chamber of commerce in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah — said business owners were streaming into his office to ask how they might be affected by a boycott.
The Kurdish news outlet Rudaw quoted Mohammad as saying that Kurds would not be adversely impacted by a boycott of Turkey “because there are still goods from the Gulf, Iran and Europe — plus from the region and the rest of Iraq.”
One man shopping in a supermarket in the Kurdish city of Erbil told Rudaw that he was boycotting Turkish goods in order to “take responsibility.”
“From now on, I will refuse to support the Turkish economy by any way possible because Turkey not only does not believe in Kurdish rights, it does not even believe in Kurdish existence,” Hogar Ali — a 31-year-old father of three — stated.