On 18 May, demonstrations were held in several cities around Wales and England calling on holidaymakers to boycott tourism in Turkey.
Kurdish Solidarity Cymru and the Kurdistan Solidarity Network say that tourism in Turkey supports the repressive military policies of the Turkish state.
Kurdish activists have repeatedly called for holiday-makers to boycott Turkey in protest at the state’s crimes against Kurdish communities. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian regime destroyed Kurdish-majority cities within Turkey’s borders in 2015, carried out massacres and displaced thousands. Turkey also has the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.
In 2016, Erdoğan’s regime jailed and sacked mayors (and high-profile politicians) from the leftist, feminist and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and replaced them with state appointees. Following the most recent local elections in 2019, many HDP candidates won back their seats. But the Turkish state has already opened criminal investigations against some of them and in other areas has ruled the candidates cannot take office. In six areas, this has led to HDP mayors being replaced by mayors from Erdoğan’s party.
Support the hunger strikers
The demonstrations were called by Kurdish Solidarity Cymru in solidarity with Kurdish hunger striker Ilhan (Imam) Sis. Newport resident Sis has been on hunger strike for over 150 days.