Contribution of CP of Turkey at the Extraordinary International Meeting of Communist and Worker’s Parties in Damascus, Syria. September 28 to 30, 2009 on the subject:Â “Solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people and the other people in Middle East.”
Comrades, distinguished delegates of the communist and worker’s parties,
We hail you on behalf of the Communist Party of Turkey; we salute all our comrades, and Turkish and Kurdish workers of our country. We wish to thank the Communist Party of Syria, which provided us the opportunity to have this important meeting, and all comrades who contributed to the holding of this meeting.
This is an extraordinary meeting, and indeed we are meeting in one of the most significant centers of the region where extraordinary developments are not rare occurrences. As we envisaged, our meetings have focused largely on the Palestinian issue. We are aware of the essentiality of this issue for our region and we are pleased to listen the participants of this meeting emphasizing on the inseparable connections between the struggle against Zionism and the struggle against imperialism.
Solidarity with Palestine, which is one of the most significant issues of solidarity for all communist and workers’ parties of the world, is also of great importance to us not only due to the geographical closeness of Turkey to the region, but also for historical reasons. In conveying our message of solidarity to the brave people of Palestine once again, we would also like to express that we will keep on supporting their cause by all means.
Internationalism, international solidarity, is an essential part of the communist identity. Nevertheless, the Communist Party of Turkey has always underlined that our most important internationalist task is to intensify the fight against bourgeois power in our country. Although we live in a country which is not accepted as Europe by Europeans, and which is not seen as a part of the Middle East by Middle Easterners in general, we adopt the class struggles of the region, especially the struggles in the Balkans and the Middle East, as our own.
In this regard, we would like to share our opinions with you today under three titles, which we deem important. On the point of intersection between these three titles, which have strong connections with each other, there lies our beautiful country. As our region and the world have been living through crucial developments, we wish all of the delegates of this meeting to consider these assessments as those of a patriotic, revolutionary and internationalist communist party looking at these events from the window of its own country.
Imperialism is the most important problem of our region.
We do not want to discuss at large on the concept of imperialism here, but we would like to emphasize that the historical process after the demise of the Soviet Union is one that marks the return of imperialism to its ownÂ inner nature, its essence. We mean, during the era when socialism was a decisive power in the world, the capitalist-imperialist system had recognized that it cannot take all the steps as it wishes, and retreated in many aspects of considerable importance.
In the world left behind by socialism, imperialism is waging a diabolical war against the people. The resolute attacks of imperialism target all the gains of the toiling masses and the oppressed peoples of the world thatÂ were achieved in the former period of world history. There is no need to give examples at length; we think that the crucial background of these attacks, whose economic, social and military aspects we have been witnessing for the last three decades, lies at this point. Stating it with an apt proverb of our country, “a lazy dog hangs around freely in a village with no stick.”
Imperialism is taking back what it had to give previously; taking the revenge of the issues which it had to obey in the world where socialism was a real power. The reason why we have to emphasize this issue here is that, our party has always kept itself at a distance from anti-imperialist approaches that are not anti-capitalist at the same time. We would like underline that the actual success of our fight against imperialism relies on the mingling with the struggle of the working class for political power. Having said that, in a world where imperialist barbarism is reigning recklessly, we also have to recognize the fight for socialism is not possible without realizing anti-imperialism as a central issue. Therefore, we would like to point to the insufficiency of anti-imperialism that does not have an anti-capitalist perspective as well as the limits of anti-capitalist struggle that is not anti-imperialist at the same time.
In the region where we are today, we discuss the east according to the west, the Middle East according to some, and imperialism according to us. If we rule out imperialism and imperialist plans from this debate, which we continue in one of “the most chaotic” regions of the world, we would see peoples who have lived together in peace for centuries; peoples who would live in peace for thousands of years for sure. All the problems in this region would be resolved if you rule out the United States, the British, the German, French imperialisms; the regional roles played by collaborating governments of Turkey and Israel would carry no weight at all if we could have such chance.
We believe that we have to repeat this fact on every occasion and we have to make our peoples recognize this simple truth.
As the fight against imperialism, and against Zionism of course, bring us closer to each other, it would do so for our peoples. It is the consciousness of the common enemy that would nullify the seeds of enmity sown by imperialism among our peoples. The common enemy is imperialism.
In our opinion, anti-imperialism is the most important force and basis for international solidarity. Intensifying this fight, directing the anger of our people against imperialist tyranny and oppression, and getting the existing reactions against imperialism organized on a correct ground are our most important tasks. Furthermore, organizing the youth, raising their conscience against imperialism, and making them recognize that it is imperialism that steals their future is utterly important in a region where the majority of the population are young.
The transformation of our country, Turkey, according to imperialist plans is a significant aspect of the issues we have addressed so far. Imperialism transforms and reshapes the world and our region by means of many different tools and methods. If Yugoslavia and Iraq are among the examples of the use of these variety of tools and methods, Turkey should be deemed just another example. Turkey is not being transformed with arms and invasion, but reshaped by a submissive and an Islamist, reactionary political power. We wish to point out some major aspects of the transformation of Turkey, which also bear regional importance.
The Justice and Development Party: in full collaboration with the U.S.
We regretfully have to say that the present political power in Turkey has become one of the most important appendages of the regional initiatives taken by the U.S. in our region. The Justice and Development Party government (AKP), which has been in the government for the last 8 years, has reinforced its power by abjectly and demagogically utilizing the reactions of the people caused by former submissive governments and the difficult life conditions imposed on toiling masses.
For the first time in many years, a bourgeois party could remain in the government for two terms by receiving a significant amount of votes. Utilizing instruments such as religion, the AKP government has achieved full dominance over the state including the Turkish Military Forces, with which it experienced tense relations during the first years of its government. This is a new and crucial fact. Considering the structure of the Turkish state and the position of Turkey in the international sphere, it is explicit that the necessary condition for the success of a party such as AKP is to achieve the full support of the U.S., and it is impossible to assume that the support of the U.S. is independent of its regional plans. The full support of the U.S. is granted in exchange for the attempts to transform the state in Turkey in view of the needs of imperialism.
Yes, Turkey has become a full-fledged pro-American country during the Cold War and took its position within the imperialist camp. The dominance of bourgeois political power and submission to imperialism in a capitalist country is inevitable of course, but Turkey was established as a result of a national liberation war; a war that could be won with the physical and political support of the Soviet Union. Turkey has taken the side of the U.S. in the bipolar world, but due to the traces of the establishment of the Republic and the gains achieved by the working class especially during 1960s, Turkey has continued to be a hard nut to crack for imperialism. In our opinion, the efforts of the Turkish bourgeoisie for EU membership and the new initiatives taken by AKP government reflect the anxiety of the capitalist class to find safe havens. This process has been going on in many dimensions. The most explicit characteristic of this process is the reinforcement of capitalist dictatorship and market domination in the country. The conditions of life for toiling masses have become more and more difficult everyday, while religious reaction becomes more and more widespread throughout the society.
These are the major issues in our agenda of struggle, but we would also like to point to the regional missions assumed by Turkey in this regard. The restructuring of the region in parallel with the transformation of Turkey has been carried out by AKP, and even the title of this restructuring has been determined, though not officially, by the government as “New Ottomanism.”.The project of New Ottomanism is centered around serving the interests of the U.S. in the region, while strengthening market domination and religious reaction within the country.
We know the imperial, expansionist nature of the Ottoman Empire and the type of society it had created, and we know that it is not something to have a longing for, it is not a society to be desired. However, we should clearly state that New Ottomanism is even more dangerous than the original; it is the Ottoman Empire of the United States and Erdoğan is the wannabe caliph of Obama in the region. The project of New Ottomanism is the title of a demagogy based on Islamic sensitivities and the provocation of nationalist emotions that cannot be overlooked in Turkey. For instance, we know that the show called “one minute” staged by the Chairman of AKP and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodoğan in Davos led to question marks even for the people who are aware of the class character of AKP. Yet, the issue is simple; as we put it in our publications, “opposition to Israel lasted one minute, while submission and partnership is for a life time.”
We have to warn our fraternal parties on one matter: the present government in Turkey is a full-fledged pro-American and pro-Israeli one. We should not forget that AKP is the governing party of Turkey, which is one of the largest military powers within the terrorist organization NATO. Throughout this whole procedure, the relations between Turkey and Israel have not changed one bit. The pilots of Israeli air forces are still getting their trainings in Turkey; military and economic agreements between Turkey and Israel are still in effect. In our opinion, on the background of the relationships of Turkey with Palestine, Iraq and even Syria, there lies the goal to establish connections of all these countries with the U.S. and of course on behalf of the U.S. We can also call this attempt as an effort to build a new bridge between Sunni Islam and the U.S. Therefore, the show staged by Erdoğan in Davos had been a fruitful move to deceive Arab people and the Islamic world.
A fake hero was born; a hero just as fake as Obama. By way of analogy we can say, to the extent Barack Obama is the savior of the peoples of the world, to the same extent Recep Tayyip Erodoğan can be a hope to Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic people. Please allow me to make another warning: the recently developing relations between Syria and Turkey suffer from the same dangers. The objective is to include Syria under the umbrella of “new Ottomanism.” The form and contents of this procedure might be debated, but we would like remind you that Iran had never been a part of the Ottoman Empire. In other words, it is highly likely that the developments between Syria and Turkey wouldÂ lead to a series of events to leave Iran alone and make that country the only and explicit target of U.S. aggression. We have to be aware of these issues and we think of it as our duty to warn our comrades against these possibilities.
The effects of a series of assaults that we have been experiencing in our country for the last 8 years are now getting transmitted to the region. The relationships of the reactionary political movements in Turkey with imperialism is not unfamiliar to us. The origins of all Islamist parties in Turkey go back to what used to be called as the Associations to Fight Against Communism. They were bred and raised by imperialism as a requirement of the infamous Green Belt project, and they have never been anti-imperialist in their entire history. The initiatives taken by the Islamist AKP government today, the New Ottoman project, is nothing but the reproduction of the same role that has always been assumed by Islamist forces in Turkey.
The Current Situation regarding the Kurdish Issue
Finally we would like to say a few words on the Kurdish issue, which has become a burning issue on the agenda once again, so as to provide further examples on possible developments in the near future. Apart from its historical origins, the Kurdish problem reproduced during the Republican period is a reality of our country. Kurdish workers are the most downtrodden, most highly exploited section of the working class in Turkey. At the root of Kurdish revolts, there lies grave inequalities. The capitalist dictatorship has always tried to “resolve” the Kurdish issue by oppression, assimilation and violence.Â In time, this approach has rendered the Kurdish issue even more complicated , and paved the way for imperialism to play role of the so-called savior of Kurds, which complicated the issue further. Currently the steps taken by the AKP government under the title of “Kurdish initiative” is just another attempt to make use of the tragedy of the Kurdish poor for the interests of imperialism. On the one hand we have our millions of citizens who have been suffering from poverty and oppression for years, on the other hand, we have the United States and the Justice and Development Party that endeavor to use them for their political projects. We should know that the main signatory of the alleged steps to be taken in relation to the Kurdish issue is the United States. It is impossible to have positive outcomes for the interests of the Kurdish workers from the initiative that was launched after the visits of the U.S. President, the U.S. Secretary of State, and the U.S. Chief of Army to Turkey and Iraq. We will not allow the exploitation of the sufferings of our people, which has been continuing for decades, by imperialism. Furthermore, as a result of these steps, the initiative of the U.S. and AKP, the danger of clashes between our peoples would become even greater.
There cannot be a resolution to the Kurdish issue without answering the questions such as, “what kind of Middle East do we want?” and ” what kind of Turkey do we want?”.
In conclusion, day by day we see that for the Kurdish people, hopes are lost further and further. The same rule is in force once again: imperialism does not try to bring a solution, but makes all efforts to reinforce its domination by rendering the issues even more irresolvable.
We believe that our main criterion in assessing our struggle should be to force the initiatives of the imperialist-capitalist system to retreat. We have to force them out from our region, we have to kick them away from Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Turkey.
The greatest terror of all is the terror of the United States, and the most barbaric dictatorship of all is the tyranny of imperialism. Comradeship means struggling together. We have to fight together. We have to fight against imperialism -Â together.