BDS Turkey 68 years after the Nakba: Resistance for a free Palestine from the sea to the river

BDS Turkey (The Initiative to Boycott Israel for Palestine) gathers in front of Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square to remember the Nakba (Great Catastrophe), 68 years after Palestinians were dispossessed from their land

bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (34)

BDS Turkey gathered in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on 15 May to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nakba with Palestinian music and messages in Turkish, Arabic and English.

The two-state solution advanced by Arab countries and the international community will not effect a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to the first speaker from the Palestinian diaspora. It is necessary to expand the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the diplomatic, academic, cultural and commercial areas, the speaker said in his speech, which was followed by slogans in Arabic.

Journalist İslam Özkan also spoke during the gathering.

Massacres against the Palestinian people have continued since the Nakba until the present day, Özkan said, noting that the Palestinian people had continued to resist against such attacks. While Turkish officials have talked about solidarity with the Palestinian people, along with sanctions and boycotts against the illegitimate Israeli state, a prospective treaty between Turkey and Israel under the guise of “normalization” shows that Ankara has rejected such solidarity, Özkan said.

68 years of attacks, displacements

bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (12)

At the gathering, Aylin Kaplan issued a press statement on behalf of BDS Turkey. Following more than half a century of growing Zionist settlements, incursions and terror since the “Israeli state” was founded on 15 May 1948, Palestinians have been displaced from their homes en masse, been subjected to the expropriation of their houses and land, suffered more than 30 massacres following anniversaries of the Nakba and witnessed the erasure of more than 500 Arab villages and towns from the map.

The Nakba is not something that has remained in the past, the statement said, noting that 6 million Palestinians were now refugees around the world and that the exploitation of Palestine and the displacement of its people was continuing even at present.

The 6 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the region and around the world are still deprived of the right to return to their country, soil and houses, while a majority of them have been living for decades in the worst humanitarian conditions possible in refugee camps without the benefit of political or civil rights.

Moreover, the exploitation of Palestine and the displacement of its people is continuing even today. The influx of Zionist settlers into occupied Palestine as part of this project of exploitation is continuing and incoming settlers have committed every manner of crime against the local people, generally avoiding any punishment for their actions. The memories of a recent attack in Nablus in which an 18-month-old baby was killed in an arson attack before his mother and father were also killed remain fresh. At the same time, there has been a systematic policy of de-Arabization in Jerusalem in recent years, as local Palestinians have seen their homes destroyed on various pretexts, land has been expropriated, while the al-Aqsa Mosque, together with places of worship for Christian Palestinians, have frequently been the target of harassment and attacks. The inhuman siege against Gaza from land, sea and air has been continuing for 10 years, while Palestinian Arabs that continue to reside within the 1948 boundaries are subjected to discrimination and forced ‘to recognize the Jewish character of the Israeli state.’

BDS Turkey re-emphasized its support for the Palestinian right of return as well as an end to Zionist settlements and incursions, adding that Israel was illegitimate and that it rejected pursuing any relations with such a war machine.

While defending the Palestinians’ right to return and calling for a halt to Zionist settlements and incursions on this, the 68th anniversary of the Nakba, we emphasize that Israel, which is entirely founded on occupation, deportation and massacres, does not have legitimacy as a state and that we reject the formation of all relations with this war machine.

“We reject Turkish-Israeli ‘normalization’”

bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (21)

BDS Turkey also emphasized that it categorically rejected all steps to be taken as part of an agreement to “normalize” Turkish-Israeli ties, as well as Turkey’s possible move to lift its veto on Israel at NATO.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed in recent days the repair of Turkish-Israeli relations that partially deteriorated six years ago. Representatives of the governments of both countries have indicated that an agreement is at hand. While the contents of this agreement have not been sufficiently shared with the public, it is understood that it far exceeds the reopening of embassies and the procurement of natural gas, rather encompassing a comprehensive partnership. The fact that Turkey recently lifted its veto on Israel at NATO and provided the go-ahead for the Tel Aviv regime to open a representative’s office at NATO not only provides an indication of such a partnership but also says a lot about bringing Turkey and Israel together under the NATO umbrella as well as regional politics on its own accord.

Today, remembering the Nakba and defending the Palestinian people’s historical and current rights requires support for their righteous struggle and a comprehensive boycott against Israel. As BDS Turkey, we reiterate our call to boycott Israel in the economic, commercial, political, military and academic fields, emphasizing our categorical rejection of all steps in the name of Turkish-Israeli ‘normalization.’ We offer our support on the issue of all the historical rights of the Palestinian people, particularly the right of return, and vow to support the Palestinian people’s struggle until a ‘Palestine free from the river to the sea’ is formed with Jerusalem as its capital.

bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (18) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (25) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (16) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (37) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (19) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (41) bds_turkiye_nakba_gunu_15mayis2016 (36)