3 on trial after Cardiff arms fair protest

3 people will be on trial at Cardiff Magistrates Court on Tuesday 3 July, following a protest against weapons sales to Turkey at the DPRTE arms fair at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in March.

The defendants include a member of the Kurdish community in south Wales, a member of Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network, and a member of Bristol Anarchist Federation. They are charged with “failure to leave land” under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. The trial is expected to continue until Thursday.

A spokesperson for Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network said:
We know there is widespread evidence Turkey employ former ISIS fighters for the invasion of Afrin, and yet the UK government and companies like BAE, Airbus and MBDA continue to profit from weapons sales to Turkey. They have no shame. It’s up to ordinary people to resist and to hold them accountable.”

Official partners of this year’s DPRTE event were the Department For International Trade, along with BAE, Airbus, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and QinetiQ, all of whom manufacture weapons or components for equipment for the Turkish military. [1] In 2017, the British government signed a £100m deal to provide fighter jets to Turkey. [2] Last week, Theresa May said she hoped Britain and Turkey would continue to work together on trade and investment. [3]

Since January 2018, Turkey has been invading Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish region in North Syria. There have been widespread reports that Turkey has been employing former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion. In a telephone interview with The Independent, a former ISIS fighter revealed that most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics.” [4]

A video released by the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights showed militiamen leading the Turkish military’s attack on Afrin threatening to massacre its Kurdish population unless they convert to the variant of Islam espoused by Isis and al-Qaeda. In the video a militia fighter flanked by others describes the Kurds as “infidels” and threatens to behead them. [5]

Notes

1. BAE have a contract to develop the TF-X fighter jet for Turkey:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38779669
Airbus manufacture the wing for the A400M multi-role transport aircraft for the Turkish military:
http://company.airbus.com/careers/Our-locations/Filton.html
MBDA, have a joint contract with the Turkish government, along with Thales, for a study into the development and production of a long-range air and missile defence system:
https://www.reuters.com/article/france-turkey-defence-eurosam/turkey-awards-missile-system-study-to-franco-italian-group-turkish-firms-idUSL8N1P02NS
Rolls-Royce supply various systems and engines to the Turkish armed forces:
https://www.rolls-royce.com/worldwide-presence/turkey/markets-and-products.aspx
QinetiQ have an export license to Turkey:
https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/mapping/organisation/2706

2. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/28/theresa-may-signs-100m-fighter-jet-deal-with-turkeys-erdogan

3. http://theregion.org/article/13726-theresa-may-congratulates-erdogan-looks-forward-to-039-security-cooperation-039

4. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-isis-afrin-syria-kurds-free-syrian-army-jihadi-video-fighters-recruits-a8199166.html

5. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-assad-regime-turkey-afrin-kurds-eastern-ghouta-us-allies-militia-a8252456.html