Parliamentary Vote for War and the AKP’s Imperialist Ambitions

The AKP government has passed a new motion from parliament for war to pursue its imperialist intentions. This bill is for the Turkish state run by the AKP to further and reinforce its imperialist policies aimed at the Middle East. With this move the AKP has once more shown that it desires to increase its share in the blood and tears shed in the region. The AKP has seized the opportunity and turned the ISIS trouble into a pretext and demanded a carte blanche from parliament for one year and got it with the help of the MHP, the traditional fascist party in Turkey. This is to strangle the autonomous government of Kurdish people in Syria led by the PYD (Democratic Union Party), and secondly, to pursue the efforts to overthrow the government in Syria in a more efficient way. Considering the US imperialism’s announcement of a 3-year struggle plan in the name of fighting ISIS, it is clear that the process of war in the region will be going on for many years ahead.

The government has not hesitated to resort to most vulgar lies and demagogy in its efforts to pass the motion. And those media outlets controlled by the AKP have been the propagators of these lies. They could claim that this motion authorising the government for war was proposed for “we cannot be indifferent to the human tragedy just next to us,” or “to come to the aid of the population suffering from ISIS terror.” Yet everybody knows that Turkey is one of the leading powers sponsoring and fostering ISIS. ISIS militants have been organised, got financial help, arms and training in Turkey under the supervision of the state. Even trailer trucks carrying weapons to Islamic militants were caught by the police in one incidence, which was carried to a court.

Some recent anti-ISIS statements by Erdoğan and some government spokespersons are essentially deceptions. These words are mostly for breaking the perception in western public opinion that Turkey aids ISIS. And the impression given by Turkey that it is joining the multinational anti-ISIS campaign is a cover. By means of this cover Turkey will pretend to fight ISIS, but in reality direct its military moves to eliminating the PYD in Syrian Kurdistan and overthrowing the Assad regime. Thus, in his habitual hypocrisy, Erdoğan could say, “we have no intention of meddling in any other country’s internal affairs,” and also say in the same speech, “ousting the Damascus administration will continue to be one of our priorities.”

Turkey’s demands for a “buffer zone” (or its lately pronounced form, “safe zone”) and a “no-fly zone” shows that its concern is not fighting ISIS. As it is known that ISIS has no aircrafts these are all measures against Assad regime. By a “no-fly zone” Turkey seeks to have a protection against any possible Syrian air strikes as a so-called “safe zone” would be regarded by the Syrian state as a military assault.

It is certain that the AKP does not want ISIS to be eliminated at least for the moment. Therefore for some time it used the pretext that its diplomatic personnel had been taken hostages by ISIS. Seeing its pretext slipped from its hands when the hostages were later set free, Turkey had to declare that it would join the imperialist anti-ISIS coalition. Yet it added that it had some conditions, showing in essence that it is dragging its feet. There are two aspects of this attitude. First, it does not want to lose the chance to shape the course of events owing to staying aside from such a coalition and be part of the table if there will be any in the end, and secondly, it wants to utilise the possibilities of effectively pursuing its own policy in Syria under the cover of coalition campaign. Under conditions of western imperialist powers not being able to use ground forces, it sees this element as an important advantage.

The government’s priority is undoubtedly to weaken the Kurdish movement which gained an important position in the course of last three years as regards Rojava (Western Kurdistan). It has been the biggest trouble for the Turkish state that Rojava has been run by the PYD which can be regarded as offshoot of the PKK. This is why it set barbaric forces like al-Nusra Front and ISIS on Rojava. Yet this policy did not pay off well until recent months. Moreover, the fact that the only serious resistance to ISIS massacres that aroused worldwide outrage is the PKK line, as in the example of Shengal, attracted a worldwide sympathy and interest towards the PKK line. For these reasons it became a matter of emergency for the Turkish state to strangle Rojava. And by doing that Turkey hopes to gain advantage in its talks with the PKK in so-called “solution process” which is crucial for the AKP for it involves a long-term ceasefire.

It is also possible that the Turkish state may attempt to play the role of saviour of Kurds in the end by entering the stage while in the meantime waiting to see the de-population and destruction of Kobane and weakening of the PYD under ISIS siege, thinking that the Kurdish movement has taken enough blows to bow down. Then this would be killing two birds with one stone: the image of saviour of Kurds and actual military invasion of Rojava!

These are imperialist ambitions and calculations of the Turkish state which is moulded with hostility towards Kurds. Will these calculations come true is yet to be seen in the period ahead. One can clearly see that the warnings (“solution process will stop”) of the Kurdish movement have created distress on the part of the government. With the prospect of war re-emerging within the soil of Turkey, the government announced some new decisions about forming “solution commissions” proposed by Öcalan. To what extent these steps will turn out to be solid are also yet to be seen in the coming days.

The established fact that is proved once more by these recent developments is that the Turkish state has not abandoned those policies that are essentially hostile to Kurd. The so called “solution process” does not involve a genuine fraternisation with the Kurdish people. The state, now run by the AKP, started this process as it sees the PKK as a hindrance for its geostrategic calculations over the region. Its concern is not to solve this historically deep-rooted question by satisfying democratic national demands of the Kurdish people, but to get rid of an important hindrance to its imperialist ambitions. This is exactly why government spokesmen and fans could say with a hardened language that the solution process has nothing to do with Rojava. Yet, let alone the great importance of Rojava for the Kurds in Turkey, both Syrian Kurds and Kurds in Turkey have the same political leadership. Of course the Turkish state knows very well the bond between Syrian Kurdistan and Turkish Kurdistan and indeed it acts according to that. However when it comes to the so called “solution process” it simply evades. Such a hypocritical attitude is rightfully regarded as hostile by the Kurds in Turkey. 

As part of this same attitude, AKP spokesmen could be so reckless to state that the Kurdish question “has been resolved to a large extent” and that it is “about to come to an end”. This is utmost shamelessness when almost no significant democratic demand of the Kurdish people has been met. Even when the attitudes taken against the basic demand of education in mother tongue are so blatantly obvious...

Moreover, as the government is far removed from pursuing a genuine peace and fraternisation policy, in every moment of crisis in Kurdish question chauvinist sentiments that have been cultivated for a long time resurface and play a venomous role. Even those sections of society that are hardline anti-Islamists now can rejoice at the ISIS siege of Kobane. Especially in social media this chauvinism has gone rampant. Aware of this rise of age-old chauvinism the government uses it as a bargaining chip against the Kurdish movement.

The war in the Middle East has entered a new phase by ISIS’s entry into the stage. ISIS’s strikingly sudden rise is rocking the balances in the region and is already opening some points of deadlock from the standpoint of western imperialist powers. Ousting of Maliki in Iraq and subsequent forming of a new government heeding the balances, bringing into line by ISIS attacks of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq which recently raised its demands for independence against the will of the US and engaged in oil business with Turkey trying to sell its oil independently (which was failed by the US)… all point to this. The fact that ISIS escalated its attacks against Rojava into a new level by besieging Kobani is part of this process. Thus balances are changing in the complicated civil war in Syria as well.

The ongoing war is now in a new stage and Turkey will be part of this process in a more profound way than it has been so far. It is not for nothing Erdoğan says in his opening speech in parliament: “It is impossible for Turkey to stay as spectator while our region is reshaping in the hundredth anniversary of the World War.” Thus it is a burning task of the working class to step up anti-war struggle in general and make solidarity with the Kurdish people in particular. It is especially important to struggle for stopping the implementation of war plans of the government escalating militarism, chauvinism and sectarianism. This struggle is a struggle of internationalist fraternity based on the unity of the working class and fraternity of peoples in the Middle East.