KURDISH solidarity campaigners accused Labour MP John Woodcock yesterday of lining up with “fascists” and supporting a regime which has jailed the leaders of his party’s political allies.
They condemned the Barrow MP for comments he made in the pro-government Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah in which he linked the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which have been fighting Isis in Syria, to terrorism.
Mr Woodcock was hosted in Turkey by the Bosphorus Centre for Global Affairs, a pro-government propaganda shell company run by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law, and met with a number of government figures during his visit.
The Bosphorus Centre claims to be an independent NGO that organises events and challenges “fake news” about Turkey.
However, its provides “fact-checking“ propaganda for Turkey’s AKP party government, with attacks on the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and denials that press freedom is severely compromised in a country where a third of the world’s jailed journalists are incarcerated.
One article praises Mr Erdogan as “the liberator of the oppressed,” while another claims that Turkish security forces did not flatten the city of Sirnak in March last year but established a “safety corridor” allowing civilians to escape from Kurdish separatist terrorists.
Critics say the only thing transparent about the organisation is its political bias.
Last month, Britain’s Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (KSC) launched a Free the HDP campaign in Parliament which has the backing of Labour MPs including Chris Williamson, who wrote on Twitter that it was time to tell the truth about the Turkish state.
KSC co-secretary Rosa Gilbert said: “It’s remarkable that John Woodcock MP has gone out of his way to line up with Erdogan and his AKP fascists and everything they represent — from the military destruction of Kurdish towns and cities [and] the funding and sustaining of jihadists in Syria to the mass imprisonment of journalists, public-sector workers, academics and activists in Turkey.
“British Labour politicians should be speaking out in defence of their PES/Socialist International allies in the HDP, nine of whose elected parliamentarians are currently in Turkish jails.
“Why does the MP for Barrow see fit to provide propaganda and solidarity to a regime which persecutes and imprisons our democratic socialist brothers and sisters?“
His “absurd” claims about terrorism sound like “textbook Turkish state propaganda,” she said, insisting that the legacy of seven British citizens killed fighting Isis would long outlive Mr Woodcock’s political career.
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