Erdogan’s regime has launched a military operation in Efrin, a Kurdish city at the northwestern side of Syria, with the full support of the so-called social democratic opposition party, the CHP. The gains and liberation struggle of the Kurdish people, spread out in a territory divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, is targeted in a common accord between those four countries’ regimes and imperialist forces such as Russia and the USA.
The name of the operation itself, “Olive Branch”, expresses the common accord against all kinds of demands based on the right of self-determination of the Kurds, even if these powers are in conflict with each other: the name “Olive Branch” expresses an olive branch one dictator offers to another while both of them defines the other as a “blood-shredded dictator”. As socialists and revolutionary Marxists, we call on all workers and trade unions to oppose this attack.
This is a war against the Kurds and the motive behind it is plainly simple: the Kurdish people are geographically divided into and being oppressed by four countries, a usurpation of their most fundamental national democratic rights. Any possible gain the Kurds acquire in any of those countries will imply national demands on democratic right and therefore accelerate the creation of a process of national awareness for Kurdish people in the three other countries. That point precisely creates a common concern for the other countries on the basis of their oppressing regimes. Hence they do not hesitate to utilize all kinds of means, including war and massacre, in order to eliminate those gains.
The media, which act as a propaganda ministry for Erdogan’s palace, injects racism into the consciousness of the masses by representing this occupation campaign as an operation “against terrorism”. This is a big lie because Erdogan regime itself is the one that has fed the Syrian civil war, supported jihadist-terrorist organizations, described ISIS, which caused bloodshed not only in Syria but also in other countries in the world, as ‘angry youth’ and has used those jihadist-terrorist organizations for its political strategy. Erdogan regime overtly transported jihadists from Turkey to Afrin with buses for this occupation campaign, without even trying to conceal it. The Erdogan regime was at the negotiating table with the Russian and Syrian regimes concerning both previous Aleppo and current Idlib, as a ‘representative’ of jihadist-terrorist organizations; this reveals the relationship between Erdogan regime and jihadists.
On the other hand, the regime silences all the opposition voices through the state of emergency and emergency decrees. By this war, the Erdogan regime tries to create new advantages to enhance its power. They will add “state of war” to the “state of emergency”. Additionally, this war will give a boost to the nationalist atmosphere in the country that will decrease the room of maneuver for the opposition. Also, the CHP (Kemalist, so-called social democratic party) is in competition with the ‘AKP-MHP coalition’ in the ‘who is the most ‘patriotic’.
The real enemy is not the people in Efrin, but the Erdogan regime that suppresses every democratic demand with the full force of the state apparatus. The conditions of the working class, whose children are sent to war, is worsening. The Erdogan regime will effectively use the war against the Kurds to prevent the transformation of working class’ discontent towards a threat to the regime. By this way, it will be much easier for the regime to stigmatize all the people demanding their rights as ‘supporters of terrorists’. It is almost certain that we are going to witness a sector-wide ban on strike of workers in the metal sector in the coming days. At a public meeting in Kütahya city Erdogan scolded subcontracted workers who are demanding permanent positions, saying “You don’t listen to the explanations, you don’t follow, you don’t know (…) we have said it before in the Parliament, in squares for several times, you still insist not to understand…” all while he was announcing the start of the occupation campaign. This shows the seeming self-confidence of Erdogan, created by his absolute power over the country. We can face more of the same due to the war, and the divisions in the working class as a result of racism, nationalism, sectarianism and chauvinism.
All opposition parties and the media, which are fully in agreement with the Erdogan regime on this subject, show an extreme attention to the “fight against terrorism” as the reason for the operation, and in avoiding using the word “Kurdish” as much as possible (including some groups that define themselves as “socialist”). It is the reason for the quick change of the name of Rojava from a “Kurdish Corridor” extending to the Mediterranean into a “terror corridor”. Even the ultra-nationalist and racist MHP says “you cannot pretend that the MHP is against the Kurds”. Their real concern is the national consciousness formed around the Kurds.
Like all other peoples, the Kurds should have the right to live and determine their own destiny, and achieve this, whether in Syria, Iraq, Iran or Turkey. The formation of the national consciousness of the Kurds and their claims to democratic rights should become a concern for the whole exploited working class. This is a precondition to be successful as a united power of the working class struggle in Turkey. For that reason, it is necessary for the Turkish working class to defend the rights of the Kurds collectively. Only by this way, it may be possible to gain the trust and then the support of the Kurdish people and combine the struggle for the national democratic rights with the class struggle.
Neither the Kurdish people nor the people of Syria are our enemies. The real enemy is that of the Erdogan dictatorship, which protects the bosses, thieves, corruption, killers and jihadist-terrorist organizations who have given nothing to the workers and the oppressed, except unemployment, poverty, exploitation, blood, tears, war and death. A dictatorship can only destroyed by its victims. The victims of this regime are ordinary Turks, Kurds, Alevites, Sunnis, that is, the working classes and all other oppressed people.
The AKP, CHP, MHP and İYİ Party, as they are all nationalist and chauvinist parties, are trying to demonstrate that both the workers and the capitalist classes have the same interests under the roof of “one nation”. However, these interests do not overlap, no matter which nationality, ethnicity or religion they belong to. Rather they are opposite. That is why there is a need for a workers’ party that can organise our own class against the nationalist parties of the capitalists. Only the unity of the working class can stop the wars, the imperialists and their collaborators. Therefore, we call on all organizations of the working class, in particular the trade unions, to oppose this war which the Turkish state has declared against the Kurds, with the help of US and Russian imperialism.
Stop the occupation now!
Don’t be a part of the occupation, say no to the attack against Afrin!
Trade unions against the war, general strike!
Let’s unite the metal workers’ strike with the struggle against the war!
Class unity against nationalism and sectarianism!
Against the war, exploitation, oppression and poverty, for a voluntary socialist confederation of the Middle East