The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, in cooperation with the Armenian Youth Federation and the Kurdish Community of Southern California, organized a demonstration last Sunday in front the Turkish Consulate.
Several hundred members of the Armenian, Kurdish, and Greek communities turned out to protest Turkey’s launching of the military invasion, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, in northern Syria. Turkish officials claim that the goal is to create a “safe zone” between the Turkis
h border and the local Syrian Democratic Forces – a Kurdish-led coalition with Armenian, Yezidi, and Arab detachments. Multiple sources, however, have reported on the ongoing indiscriminate attacks targeting civilian areas, which, they argue, is set to ethnically cleanse the area of local inhabitants, and resettle the area with Turkmen groups, as it was done in the area of Afrin last year.
Asbarez provided live coverage of the protest on its Facebook page on Sunday.
The demonstration included multiple intersecting messages of solidarity. Vicar General of the Western Prelacy, Bishop Torkom Donoyan opened the program with a prayer in Armenian and English.
Sherin Zadeh and Yara Ismael, speaking on behalf of KCSC, stated, “The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw is a betrayal to the Kurds and American allies in general. Turkey did not waste time and start[ed] its unlawful invasion right away, killing tens of innocent civilians.”
Their remarks were followed by a statement from Arsen Shirvanyan, ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director. Speaking on behalf of the organization, Shirvanyan said, “Whether on the streets, or through legislative action, we won’t stop until we hold Turkey responsible for its crimes.”
Hasmik Burushyan, speaking on behalf of the Armenian Youth Federation, highlighted Turkey’s ongoing policy to drop bombs on civilian communities – killing of innocent civilians – while also continuing to kill and jail its own citizens.
American Hellenic Council’s Christianna Kountou read a statement of solidarity on behalf of the Greek community, while also highlighting the Turkish Navy’s recent illegal encirclement of Cyprus.
Additional statements were also made by Mihran Toumajan of the Armenian Assembly of America, UCLA Armenian Students’ Association Executive Board member Arman Antonyan, and Camp Gilboa’s Joshua Bloom on behalf of the Jewish community.