On 17 October, the Turkish parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the right of the Turkish army to pursue Kurdish guerrillas of the PKK back to their bases in northern Iraq. Four days later, 13 Turkish soldiers were killed in a PKK ambush, fanning the flames of a war campaign that had already begun. Nationalist demonstrations, some of them very large, have been organised all over Turkey, fully supported by the army, the police, the majority of political parties, the majority of the trade unions, the media, and the education system. Every citizen is urged to hang a Turkish flag from his window or to carry them to football matches. Shops and office buildings vie with each other to display the biggest flag.
For the Turkish ruling class, this is part of the ‘war against terrorism' which of course has a US designer label. But the American bourgeoisie, which certainly regards Turkey as a key ally in its military strategy for the Middle East, is not entirely happy about these developments. Shortly before the Turkish parliament's declaration, the Democratic majority in the US Congress raised the question of Turkey's great skeleton in the cupboard, the massacre of the Armenians in 1915. The Republicans, Bush at their head, warned against angering the Turks by describing this slaughter as a form of ‘genocide'. But following the Turkish parliament's vote on 17 October, Bush himself warned that an escalation of the Turkish presence in northern Iraq (since as Bush himself let slip, the Turkish army has quite a few troops there already) could undermine the fragile stability of the autonomous Kurdish region - Iraq's only ‘haven of peace' since the US invasion and the toppling of Saddam plunged the country into total disarray. The Turks accuse the ruling Kurdish parties of this region of aiding and abetting the PKK, and although the likes of Barzani and Talabani (Iraq's main Kurdish politicians) have urged the PKK to stop its attacks, the situation remains extremely tense. Barzani, for example, declared that, while not wanting to be part of any conflict, they (the government of Kurdish northern Iraq with its intact force of peshmerga fighters) would certainly defend themselves.
This simmering war on the Turkish/Iraqi border is yet another chapter in a horror story that now includes open war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Israel/Palestine and the threat of further conflicts spreading to Iran and Pakistan. Faced with this slide into barbarism and chaos, the comrades of the EKS (Internationalist Communist Left) in Turkey have responded by issuing the internationalist statement that we print below. They have been distributing it as a leaflet along with their recent bulletin ‘Night Notes', which also relates to the militant strike at Turkish Telecom and points towards such struggles as the only alternative to militarism and war.
The EKS comrades are intervening in an atmosphere of state-sponsored war hysteria, in a country where (as anyone who has read Orhan Pamuk's book Snow will know) political murder is a long-established tradition. They deserve the solidarity and support of revolutionaries all over the world. Amos, 31/10/07.
Once again, we've had the upsetting news of more workers' children being sacrificed for the brutal war in the South East. The bourgeoisie and their media started screaming for more blood and chaos as always. As a result, people are now looking for ‘terrorists' in the street. But why did this happen?
Because the bourgeois state is in a state of crisis which hasn't been so openly apparent for a long time. The economic reason at the bottom of this is the fact that the workers in Turkey have no more blood for the bourgeoisie to suck; and if that isn't enough, as in the Turkish Airlines yesterday and more strongly in the Türk Telekom and Novamed strikes today, they are beginning to resist. Increasing international debts, capital that is becoming more and more fictitious, growing fragility on the ‘money markets' - the consequences are all loaded onto workers' backs. The bourgeoisie is pumping in racism to continue this situation; thus Kurdish workers are exploited for a cheaper price and Turkish workers are left to rot miserably in the streets. The political consequence of this situation is the battle cries we always hear but which aren't a solution to anything. The ideological walls of the bourgeois state are cracking every day. The more the outrage workers live through is put into question, the more capital will push society into degeneration, decay and decomposition, and the more it loses the social validity which gave it its meaning in the first place. The response of the bourgeois politicians to the latest massacre is the following.
For the nationalist wing of the bourgeoisie, the issue is, as always, the ‘conspiracy' organised by the United States. According to them, if the Turkish Armed Forces invade Iraq, "terror will be eradicated". In reality, only three years have passed since the United States itself wanted working class boys from Turkey to go fight other workers in Iraq. However the Turkish bourgeoisie was unable to do this because of their inability to convince workers to go to war and because of their incapability and weakness. The truth is that the Turkish bourgeoisie has always aligned itself with the United States and the Turkish Armed Forces are standing ready to kill workers in Lebanon and Afghanistan if necessary. Thus, contrary to the lie the nationalist wing of the bourgeoisie is trying to make workers believe, there are no conflicting interests between them and American imperialism. Quite the contrary: there is a common interest and the Turkish Armed Forces are the armed executioners of this alliance. What's more, not only will any massacre to be done in Northern Iraq cause more soldiers to die and more ‘civilians' to be forced into concentration camps and massacred in battlefields, but also it will be countered with more bombs exploding in major cities.
The Islamic and liberal wing of the bourgeoisie is not supporting the war very reliably, which is how it normally is. Of course the fact that they have doubts about how the "operation" will take place is only an expression of them trying to get the permission they want from the United States. For this, they have no other choice but to wait ‘patiently' to have a compromise with Barzani and Talabani.
As for the left wing of the bourgeoisie, they aren't doing anything other than whining from their high rostrums. Of course they are not interested in the hunger, misery, poverty and death of workers. They are bending their rhetoric more and more in front of their masters to protect their position. In short, they once again prove the pointlessness of parliaments.
As a result, workers in Turkey too are being pulled into the dead-end cycle of more war, destruction, terror and chaos that is being inflicted on the Middle East by a bourgeoisie who neither cares about their lives nor their deaths. Because capitalism can only postpone the execution of its unsolvable crisis by dragging humanity into more destruction.
The response of the proletariat keeps lighting the way forward as we saw in the Telekom strike. A single strike which has been going on for only a few days was enough to make the bourgeoisie tremble. Only if workers enter into solidarity with their class to spread those struggles, and if workers say no to war internationally, can the capitalist massacre be stopped. The way to stop war and massacres is not to deepen and widen them, but to build class solidarity across borders, reaching every military battlefront. The enemy is not class brothers and sisters in other countries but the capitalists right here, sitting in their warm houses!
EKS, October 2007.