As Turkey continues to occupy Kurdish-controlled northern Syria – an invasion that, at the time of writing, has killed over 500 civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands – the Kurdish freedom movement has called for a boycott of Turkish goods and services.
Despite its appalling human rights record, Turkey is still one of the most visited holiday destinations in the world. In 2017, it made $26.3 billion from its tourism industry, which is intrinsically linked to its war machine.
The huge Turkish holding company Nurol, for example, which owns the Lugal and Sheraton Hotels in Ankara as well as the Club Salima holiday village in Antalya, also owns arms companies that produce tanks and other armoured vehicles used to suppress demonstrations and raze villages in Kurdish regions inside Turkey.
Koç Holding, which owns Beko, produces 17 per cent of all white goods sold in the UK, and also holds a 45 per cent stake in Otokar, which manufactures armoured vehicles for the Turkish military and police; Turkish Airlines, the fourth largest carrier in the world by number of destinations, has board members that are close to the ruling repressive AKP party.
‘Turkish tourism directly funds the state’s war on the Kurdish people,’ says Elif Sarican, a co-ordinator of the Kurdistan Student’s Union UK. ‘In the name of humanity, we ask everyone to boycott holidaying in Turkey.’