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Turkey: Erdogan is playing a dangerous game

A contribution by the web blog "Arbeidersstemmen"

From the new, and currently very prolific, web blog in Dutch Arbeidersstemmen (Workers’ Voices) we adopt two very recent articles on the situation in Turkey. They are intended as contributions to the debate on the imperialist conflagration over Syria and the perspective of a worker’s riposte on its own class terrain:

- Erdogan is playing a dangerous game (February 27, 2016) and

- When the workers make their voice heard (March 5, 2016).

In addition, we’d like to draw the attention of our readers to the following articles on the upsurge of the workers’ struggles in Turkey, in the course of last year’s spring:

- Harranite Strike in Turkey’s Metal Industry, by Pale Blue Jadal, and

- Auto struggles in Turkey: "We don’t want any unions. We have set up workers councils", on the website of the Internationalist Communist Tendency.

The metal sector workers (and Renault-Bursa) were at the epicenter of this struggle as well.




Turkey is in many ways involved in the bloody war in Syria. Much of it does not penetrate in the Dutch media. With a NATO ally there is nothing wrong, especially when it has to absorb refugees locally. In exchange for a pay, of course.

Mysterious bombings

Turkey is especially in the news with another bomb attack on Turkish soil, there have already been five in less than a year. Erdogan invariably blames it on ’Kurdish terrorists’. But it’s obvious who benefits most from these mysterious attacks. Within the population in Turkey these attacks reinforce the feeling that only Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party’s (the AK Party) may bring back the relative calm in Turkey. Erdogan has already been re-elected for that reason. In order to expand his position of power Erdogan has suspended dialogue with the Kurdish PKK movement, and has started an internal war in southeastern Turkey. The army rushes with tanks through the narrow streets of the towns, terrorizing the population who had just begun to break down the walls of distrust between Kurdish and Turkish inhabitants, and small minorities such as the Armenians. In an editorial of February 18 The Guardian points out that Erdogan’s political ambitions not only harm the interests of the United States, but also of Turkey itself.

Erdogan against the Kurds in his own country and in Rojava

Facing the dangers that Erdogan sees in a Kurdish control of a strip of land in northern Syria near the Turkish border (Rojava), The Guardian says that the AK Party is itself co-responsible for this situation. In order to thwart its arch-enemy Assad of Syria, Turkey has allowed jihadist groups to cross the Turkish-Syrian border and has sponsored their campaign to overthrow the Assad regime: Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Nusra Front, both groups in Syria are linked to al-Qaeda. Erdogan, however, attributes the mysterious bombings not to those groups but to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or its sister group in Syria, the Democratic Union party (PYD). Both organizations claim to no longer aim at creating an independent Kurdish state, but at integrating twenty million Kurds in the country through more political and cultural rights. The Guardian points out that, at the time, Erdogan argued that the PKK can not be defeated by military means and has called for negotiations and a permanent agreement with the Kurdish movement. The Guardian further argues that Turkey could also live with the rise of the PYD in Syria, namely in much the same way as it already does with the Iraqi Kurds under Barzani in their autonomous region. Turkey has strong ties with the Kurds in Iraq, based on mutual strategic and commercial interests (for example, exports of Iraqi oil via Turkey).

The Guardian also makes it clear why it asks from Erdogan to reach out for the Syrian Kurds: because the Syrian Kurds are supported by both the USA and the Russians, the PYD has secured a key role in the Syrian war. The USA has made it clear that it regards the PKK and the PYD as crucial partners in the struggle against Isis, as Erdogan demanded that they should make a choice for either Turkey or the PYD.

Erdogan does not want peace with the PKK / PYD and is trying to obtain more presidential powers through a referendum. His hope is that the conflict with the PKK will increase the nationalistic mood and will give him the support he needs. Turkey’s allies, including the USA, are exerting pressure on Erdogan behind the scenes to give up his personal ambitions. They point out that Turkey’s support for the jihadists in Syria will harm the country in the long run much more than the PKK will ever be able to do.

So far, The Guardian.

Erdogan repeats the stupidities of Bush Jr. on a smaller scale.

Are Erdogan’s ambitions irresponsible? Yes, they certainly are for American imperialism. Are they harmful for the imperialist interests of Turkey as well? Perhaps, history will tell. We remember the political ambitions of George W. Bush. After numerous recounts of the votes he was elected president of the USA, and who [therefore] after the 9/11 attacks by the former agent of the USA, Osama bin Laden, began a totally unjustified war in Iraq that eventually led to the breakup of the country. Erdogan repeats the enormous stupidity of Bush Jr. on a smaller scale. This shows once more that the chaos in which capitalism continues to sink for already 25 years is not the result of mistakes made by individual politicians, as The Guardian hypocritically suggests. The current bourgeois state politics and imperialist war are characterized by an extreme irrationality, because they are both the result of a capitalist society that has no future and that pushes humanity ever deeper into misery.

It is up to the workers in Turkey and worldwide to not get carried away by nationalism, in whatever form, and consistently struggle for their own class interests until they can make their old battle cry heard again: "Workers of all countries, unite!"

Web Blog "Arbeidersstemmen", February 27, 2016.


Source: Turkije: Erdogan speelt gevaarlijk spel

English translation for Controversies: 2016-03-09