Since Turkey launched its military offensive in the de facto autonomous Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava), anti-Turkish violence has risen across several European countries. Apart from attacks with paint bombs and rocks, this has also included arson attacks on buildings and vehicles that are associated with the Turkish government or its supporters. More specifically, mosques, Turkish cultural centres as well as premises of companies that presumably or actually are involved in armament projects related to Turkey have been targeted in recent weeks, such as armaments companies in Turin and Bremen and a bank in Hamburg.

“In the coming weeks and months, a further increase and intensification of attacks in retaliation for the Turkish military offensive are a distinct possibility.”

Pro-Rojava groups have explicitly referred to specific political and economic targets in their calls for violent acts. The potential for violence arising from pro-Kurdish groups poses a significant risk to company sites in Germany and elsewhere in Europe of becoming direct targets or being damaged in attacks on nearby buildings. Furthermore, many pro-Kurdish demonstrations have occurred in several European countries, in some cases leading to clashes with security forces, e.g. at the airports in Düsseldorf and Berlin on 11 March.

As the Turkish military is currently threatening the symbolic and predominantly Kurdish city of Afrin, the confrontations in European countries with a large Kurdish population, which apart from Germany includes above all France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria, can be expected to become more intense. In addition to Kurds from Turkey, Kurds from Syria as well as traditional left-wing groups could increasingly support calls for violence. In a worst case scenario, these could be directed at people. The Kurdish New Year Nowruz, which will be observed on 21 March, could be another occasion for escalations.


Recommendations for corporations

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Photo credit: Libertinus | License: Creative Commons