Category: Turkey
Military Conflict Between East and West Has Never Been Closer
| February 14, 2018 | 8:07 pm | Analysis, Israel, John Wight, Middle East, Russia, Syria, Turkey, USSR | No comments
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the Israeli Syrian border next to the town of Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights

Military Conflict Between East and West Has Never Been Closer


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John Wight

Recent events in Syria serve to illustrate the dire consequences of a unipolar world. They also provide further confirmation that international law now belongs to the realm of fiction when it comes to Washington and its allies, for whom exceptionalism is the natural order of things.

There is compelling evidence to speculate that what is now being attempted by the US in Syria, with its occupation of a large swathe of territory in the north west of the country, is a re-run of the Balkanisation of Yugoslavia in the 1990s — a sovereign state broken up and dismembered after the collapse of the Soviet Union in service to the unipolar world that had just come into being as a result.

The break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a state born out of the carnage of the Second World War, was stark evidence that for hawks within the US political and military establishment the Cold War had not ended it had been won – won by dint of America’s divinely chosen position as the “indispensable nation”, a credo first articulated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during an NBC interview in 1998.

READ MORE: Syria of Discord: Iran, US Clash Over Military Presence on Ground

Thus triumphalism abounded within the corridors of power in the land of the free, which cheered on by its willing vassals — such as Tony Blair’s UK government, and various eastern European satellites harbouring unresolved anti-Russian animus — produced an intoxication with overwhelming military power and strength, encapsulated in the eastward expansion of NATO.

The unending wars and military interventions that have been embarked by the US and its allies since the 1990s, rather than push the frontiers of democracy, have produced nothing but human misery, chaos, and instability. And on a scale hitherto absent.Syria is only the latest country and society to experience the tender mercies of Washington’s self-ordained role as the world’s policeman. It does so not with the objective of maintaining the world as a safe place or democracy or human rights, as tirelessly claimed, but so that global corporations are able to function and prosper and exploit the world’s human and natural resources unimpeded. They call it free market economics. A much more accurate name is’ disruptive unfettered capitalism’, an economic model which is no respecter of borders or cultures, no respecter of even the concept of the nation state.

The presence of US military forces in Syria is illegal. This is a fact that no amount of obfuscation or dissembling can elide. It poses a threat to the security and stability not only of Syria but the entire region. The idea that the presence of US military forces in the country, or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter, is necessary to bolster security and stability, this is an exercise in peddling fiction. Just ask the people of Iraq or Libya, two countries laid waste by Washington and its allies, if you do not believe me.

READ MORE: Drone Captures Syrian Kurdish Militants Hit by Airstrike in Afrin (VIDEO)

Adding to the pot of instability and US-inspired mayhem in the Middle East is the news that the gargantuan US military budget for 2019 is to include $300 million for the training and equipping of the SDF, Washington’s proxy ground force in Syria, in addition to $250 million to fund the ‘border security force’ in the country that’s been mooted. By way of a reminder, as with the SDF the planned border security force will largely comprise Syrian Kurds attached to the YPG. All this, it’s worth recalling, is being undertaken in clear violation of Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the very epitome of might is right, redolent of that which sustained the Roman Empire.

The seeming willingness of the Trump administration to rupture its alliance and relationship with fellow NATO member, Turkey, with its commitment to arming and training the Kurds across Ankara’s southern border is remarkable, not to mention inexplicable. President Erdogan’s government has made no bones about the fact it considers it a threat to Turkey’s security, and has pledged to act accordingly. Indeed with its Operation Olive Branch military campaign against the YPG in Afrin, northern Syria, currently underway, involving ground forces deploying across the border in the process, the Erdogan government is making good on this pledge.

The fact is that along with Israel, Turkey is now exploiting the crisis and conflict in Syria to violate its sovereignty with wilful abandon.

It requires neither an abiding love or Russia nor a burning hatred of America to understand the necessity of a world in which no one nation is able or inclined to arrogate to itself the right to exercise global hegemony. Empires are doomed by virtue of the very premise upon which they exist, which is that nations and peoples can be dominated and subjugated by other nations. They cannot. Or at least they cannot over a sustained period.

If history teaches us anything it is that those who seek to dominate only succeed in sowing dragon’s teeth, inviting blowback and backlash. The monster that is Salafi-jihadism and the ensuing spate of terrorist attacks across the world in recent years leaves no doubt of it.

The need to check the untrammelled power of Washington is self-evident. Since the Soviet Union was consigned to history in the early 1990s, the US has rampaged across the world like an out of control juggernaut of death and destruction. It has done so regardless of the administration or president occupying the White House.In Donald Trump, a man for whom subtlety is an alien concept, we have ourselves a US president who cannot seem to make up his mind whether he is a recurring character in the Sopranos or the elected leader of the world largest economy and nuclear power.

With his presidency, the sheer reckless, aggressive and capricious character of it, the time has come to pose the question: Who will save us from America?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Turkey: Erdogan’s AKP government bans metalworkers strike as a “threat to the national security”
| January 26, 2018 | 7:44 pm | Communist Party Turkey, Turkey | No comments

Friday, January 26, 2018

Turkey: Erdogan’s AKP government bans metalworkers strike as a “threat to the national security”
According to a soL international report, Turkey’s AKP government has banned a strike in Turkey’s metal sector, citing national security.
The government decree, signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, considers the metalworkers’ mass strike as a “threat to the national security of Turkey”.
Metal workers, rejecting Turkey’s pro-capitalist Metal Industrialists Union (MESS)’s unacceptable offer that includes a 3-year validity period for its contract and a 6.4% wage increase, have decided to go on strike on February 2, 2018.
The cabinet was given the right to suspend and delay strikes with a law approved in the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup. In 2012, Turkish AKP government adopted a “new” trade union act numbered 6356. But it merely incorporated old provisions and kept to amend strike suspension mechanisms.
The decree was based on Article 63 of Act 6356 which allows the government to suspend any strike for 60 days if it is considered a danger to “national security” and “public health”. The decree is followed by a 60-day ‘postponement period’ for negotiations, where the parties have to agree. In practice, this means that there is no chance to continue the strike after the 60-day period.
Workers affiliated the United Metal Workers’ Union (Birleşik Metal-İŞ) went on a 1-hour token strike in certain factories on January 23. 8000 workers participated in token strikes in 30 factories on January 23.
From its side, the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) has responded to the AKP government banning the strike of metal workers commencing on February 2, one week before the start of the strike.
“The country is under threat of the government which has sent its army to the expedition in Syrian lands along with jihadist gangs. The country is under threat due to the American bases which were converted into nuclear arsenals and the membership to the war organisation NATO. The country is under threat due to the profit greed of bosses who can risk everything. Metal workers will see this threat and lay claim to both their right to strike and the homeland,” said the TKP in a statement titled “Government of bosses in charge!”
The TKP drew attention to the close relation between the AKP government and the capitalist class, remarking “Thus, the government has fulfilled the instruction of the bosses once again. Now the metal bosses who think that they have eliminated a risk of the strike will continue imposing on workers the wages below the poverty line and flexible working. The government tells the workers whose right to strike has been revoked to ‘accept whatever the bosses give.'”
“This is not the first ban. The AKP has announced 13 strike banning decisions since the day it came into power. With these decisions, striking right of 62 thousand workers was seized. 130 thousand more workers have been added to this number with the latest ban,” read the TKP statement and continued underlying the use of strike bans as a capitalist oppression: “We know that strike bans are a tool of oppression over workers which the capitalist system can never abandon. Not only the AKP but every boss government that has ruled the country to date didn’t abstain from banning strikes.”
The TKP also emphasised the “national security” narrative of the government in strike bans: “And the excuse for strike bans has always been ‘national security.’ The current government, too, showed the same reason when banning the strike of metal workers. Now the capitalist organisations and company unions whose primary mission is to keep workers under control will join in this choir. They will start a demagogy that ‘national security comes first’ with one voice.”
Greve hazırız: Thousands of metalworkers in Turkey to participate on a strike on February 2
| January 24, 2018 | 7:43 pm | Labor, Turkey | No comments

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Greve hazırız: Thousands of metalworkers in Turkey to participate on a strike on February 2
As soL international reports, metal workers in Turkey have declared that they will not submit to oppression in the hands of capitalist plunderers, as the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) affiliate United Metal Workers’ Union (Birleşik Metal-İŞ) officially announced that they would strike on February 2.
The Head of the United Metal Workers’ Union Adnan Serdaroğlu said that the collective bargaining of the metal workers encompassed 180.000 workers and 180 workplaces affiliated to three trade unions in Turkey.
Stating that Turkey’s Metal Industrialists Union (MESS)’s offer is unacceptable, Serdaroğlu announced that metal workers would go on strike on February 2, 2018.
The United Metal Workers’ Union also underlined that a possible ban on the workers’ strike that would be imposed by the Turkish government would not be respected.
The pro-capitalist ‘union’ MESS’s unacceptable offer to the metal workers included a 3-year validity period for the contract and a 6.4% wage increase. This offer was rejected by workers and labour unions on January 12, 2018.
The Turkish Metal Union had previously declared that they will be on strike on February 2.
* * * 
January 23, 2017.
During group collective bargaining negotiations in GE Grid Solutions, ABB Electricity, Schneider Electricity and Schneider Energy workplace, we couldn’t reach to an agreement. As a result of this, on 20th of January, 2200 Birleşik Metal İş members started our “Metal Strike” with full participation and with great enthusiasm. After we started our strike in the same day, in the mid-day, Government postponed our strike for 60 days.
Metal workers very well know what this strike postponements means. This is not a postponement but it is a prohibition. Since 2002, right to strike of tens of thousands of workers in Glass, Plastics and Mining sectors were taken from them by Government.
Metal workers also experienced Government‘s strike prohibitions themselves many times. In 2015, strike of thousands of metalworkers against MESS (Metal Employers’ Union) were postponed by Government. On 18th of January 2017, Strike in Asil Çelik steel mill was prohibited too.
Right to strike is a basic right which has hsitory of hundreds of years and it is protected by both Constitution and universal rights. By taking right to strike from our hands, it means right to have a free collective bargaining has been taken from our hands too. Right to collective bargaining without strike “doesn’t mean anything”.
Government who turned strike prohibitions into a habit since they took power, is now taking our right to collective bargaining by prohibiting our strike and they simply tell us that “you have to accept whatever employers gives to you”. This means to deem poverty proper for hard working workers.
As metalworkers, we don’t recognize Government’s decision which protects only bosses and employers, which doesn’t take care of workers’ hard work, which takes workers’ right to strike from their hands, which prohibits usage of a Constitutional right.
We are, as Birleşik Metal İş member workers, as we declared before, we don’t submit to Government’s prohibition of strike.  We will defend the right to collective bargaining with right to strike which was earned by working class with hard prices in the history and we are turning our workplaces in to the venue of actions.
We don’t take this decision only for workers who are working for workplaces member to the EMIS (Electromechanical Employers’ Union) but we take decision on behalf of all the workers whose right to strike is taken by their hands regularly. Our actions are also warning actions against the Government  who uses strike prohibitions as “Sword of Damocles” on workers’ right to collective bargaining , who uses state of emergency as an obstacle to use democratic rights, who brings police and water cannons in front of the workers in every small demand for basic rights.
Metalworkers who wrote history many times in the past with their struggle, will once again go on another struggle with great determination which will change the history again. This struggle is against bosses who doesn’t give our hard work’s right and against strike prohibitions of the Government who considers employer’s demands as an order.
Our struggle will continue until a collective bargaining agreement according to our members’ demands will be signed with EMIS.
We invite all the friends of working class to support this just struggle.
AKEL condemns attack on “Afrika” newspaper: “The moral perpetrator is President Erdogan himself”
| January 23, 2018 | 7:36 pm | AKEL (Cyprus), Cyprus, Turkey | No comments

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

AKEL condemns attack on “Afrika” newspaper: “The moral perpetrator is President Erdogan himself”

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 22nd January 2018, Nicosia.

AKEL denounces today’s attacks by extreme nationalist forces against the “Afrika” newspaper in the occupied areas. The moral perpetrator of the attacks is the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan himself, whose recent references in Bursa bluntly targeted the newspaper “Afrika”.
As AKEL, we express our solidarity with Sener Levent and the newspaper “Afrika”, which is once again being targeted because it dared to refer to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on the occasion of Turkey’s ongoing invasion of Syria’s Arfin region.
Behind the demonstrations with an aggressive character appear to be mainly settlers who are aligned to the Justice and Development Party (AKP), as well as several ultra-right elements. We express our solidarity with the Turkish Cypriot progressive forces that oppose these attacks, but also stand against the invasion of Syria.
In general, these events further highlight yet another way by which Ankara is trying to further impose itself on the Turkish Cypriot community and transfer its internal problems to Cyprus and in doing so consequently reaffirming that only the solution of the Cyprus problem can free the Cypriot people as a whole from every kind of intervention by Turkey in Cyprus.
Hands Off Syria! TKP and Turkey’s Peace Committee condemn Erdogan’s Afrin operation in Syria

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hands Off Syria! TKP and Turkey’s Peace Committee condemn Erdogan’s Afrin operation in Syria
In a statement published on January 21st, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) condemns the military operation of Erdogan’s government against Syria. Noting that Syria has long been turned into an arena for the bloody games of the imperialist powers, and that the AKP government of Turkey has sought ways to integrate in these imperialist projects, TKP underlined that the Turkish AKP government’s recent military operation in Syria has “nothing to do with any national interest or security issue of Turkey.”
TKP reminded that Turkey is an allied NATO member and pointed to the hypocrisy of the AKP government for not “questioning the military existence of NATO in Turkey, but arguing about a threat in Syria.”
Saying that AKP’s operation serves imperialist plans aiming to divide Syria, TKP underlined that the people of Turkey “cannot be deceived with heroism or nationalist demagogy. Syria must be cleared of imperialist projects, interest conflicts between big powers and the fundamentalist powers of the region. It is the Syrian people who will do this.”
Baris Dernegi: No to foreign intervention in Syria!
From her side, the Peace Committee of Turkey (Baris Dernegi) has issued a statement condemning the so-called Afrin operation of the Turkish military forces in Syria:
The Afrin operation of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has nothing to do with our country’s national interests. This operation is a new link of Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) interventions against the sovereignty of Syria.
Attacks of imperialist-sponsored reactionary forces have turned the country into a bloodbath and displaced millions of Syrian people since 2011. Although the jihadist gangs were largely repelled, the recent developments prove that all powers are the enemies of stability and peace in Syria.
Liquidation of the Islamic State is not enough; it is apparent that peace will not be achieved until the Syrian people take full control of the country and all foreign powers withdraw.
Turkey’s attack with the consent of the U.S.A. and Russia is illegitimate, reinforcing the partition of Syria in the service of imperialism. AKP’s anti-American discourse is completely demagogic.
Escalating nationalism and chauvinism go along with TSK’s intervention, while warmongering is rising and war is attempted to be legitimatised through a religious discourse. It is necessary to reject this policy that functions as divisive not only in Syria but also in Turkey.
Various entities supported by the U.S.A. are pointed out as a threat. All U.S. attempts are extremely serious threats for all peoples of the region, particularly for Syria and Turkey. All policies paving the way for imperialism are anti-people.
It is necessary to put an end to all foreign interventions in Syria immediately and unconditionally. Imperialism and all big powers should leave Syria alone, and the people should determine their future themselves.
We call on all neighbouring and peace-loving people to unite against imperialism and reaction.
US Trying to Use Syria as a Garrison for Operations in Middle East, Scholar Says
| January 21, 2018 | 6:09 pm | Syria, Turkey | No comments

People walk near a Syrian national flag at the President bridge in Damascus, Syria March 14, 2016

US Trying to Use Syria as a Garrison for Operations in Middle East, Scholar Says

© REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki

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While Turkey has begun an operation against the Kurds in the Syrian city of Afrin and the US recently announced plans to continue its military commitment in the Middle Eastern country, Radio Sputnik discussed the developments with Prof. Dr. Bora Bayraktar from Kultuk University in Istanbul.

Sputnik: Turkey is saying that the operation is within the boundaries of a right to self-defense and also within the framework of international law. Do you agree with that?

Prof. Dr. Bora Bayraktar: Of course, I agree with that because, you know, in the city I live, in Istanbul, there were many terrorist attacks last in 2016. And we know that this organization [the PKK] was behind it. Turkey needs to protect its borders, and also Turkey didn’t get diplomatic support from allies and, you know, we can also call Russia an ally for Turkey, especially in Syria. So, this is a big problem, and Turkey has to deal with this issue. And it seems that Afrin would be one of the reasons why Turkey considers that it’s facing terrorist attacks. Afrin is one of the bases of the PYD/PKK, so from the Turkish point of view, this is legitimate.

Sputnik: The US and Turkey have had extremely strained relations for the past few years. How is that going to play into this situation?

Prof. Dr. Bora Bayraktar: In none of the major issues Turkey and the United States are on the same page, especially for the last decade, we can say. The situation in Iraq, the Kurdish issue, the coup attempt in Turkey — Turkey believes that the person behind it is in the United States and they have affiliation with US intelligence — also the Jerusalem issue, Syria, in many issues and major problems Turkey, and Russia, and the US don’t have common goals. They are rivals actually, we can say this easily. But they are both [Turkey and the US] NATO partners, Turkey was part of the Western security system for decades. So this is a big issue. And when it comes to Syria, Turkey is trying to keep the territorial integrity of Syria, trying to keep its borders safe, while the US (and this is my personal opinion) is looking for a garrison state in the eastern part of the Euphrates River. They are trying to build a statelet to use it as a garrison for further operations in the Middle East against Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq. This is an important foothold, so I think in this case, again, Turkey and the US have problems, and they will have more problems if the US keeps supporting the PYD and other groups that Turkey considers terrorist organizations.

Sputnik: What can be done to resolve the situation between Turkey, the US and Russia in Syria?

Prof. Dr. Bora Bayraktar: It’s a very difficult task. I think right now, for geopolitical and strategic reasons Turkey and Russia are getting closer because, you know, they feel the same threat from the United States, especially when it comes to the Middle East and the territorial integrity of the countries like Syria and Iraq.

Sputnik: Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said that the US is not interested in keeping Syria’s territorial integrity. What’s your take on that?

Prof. Dr. Bora Bayraktar: I totally agree with Mr. Lavrov, because what the United States did last week, you know, they declared that there will be a 30,000 man force that will protect the borders of Syria which is the violation of Syrian territorial integrity, violation of Syrian sovereignty. And as I told you, they are looking for a garrison state in Syria, and this is not acceptable for any country in the region. And I think Mr. Lavrov has a reason for saying that. Although the US Secretary of State Tillerson and a spokesman from Pentagon denied this claim, they said “ok, we are not looking for an extra army.” But when we look at the actions, not the words, we see that the United States is trying to cut a piece of Syria for their use, and this is not acceptable.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

KKE expresses solidarity with the Communist Party of Turkey, denounces the conviction of Kemal Okuyan

Friday, January 19, 2018

KKE expresses solidarity with the Communist Party of Turkey, denounces the conviction of Kemal Okuyan
The International Relations Section of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece has issued a solidarity message to the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) regarding the provocative conviction of TKP’s General Secretary Kemal Okuyan.
The KKE condemns and denounces the unacceptable conviction of the General Secretary of the CP Turkey, Kemal Okuyan, by the Turkish courts to 11 months and 20 days in prison with the pretext that in an article of his “he insulted the President of Turkey, Erdogan.”
This a provocative decision that aims to impede the activity of the communists who are playing a leading role in the struggle against the anti-worker political line and enormous repression which has been unleashed by the Turkish government, as well as against the barbarity of the capitalist system itself. The aim of cde Kemal Okuyan’s conviction is to terrorize the Turkish people so that they do not organize their struggles against the anti-people political line, against the aggression of capital. The provocative decision of the court (which in the end transformed the sentence into a fine) is added to the long list of other reactionary judicial decisions in Turkey.

We express our full solidarity with our comrades of the CP of Turkey, with the struggle of the Turkish people who have the strength to decisively answer the attempt to terrorize them, the repression that goes hand in hand with class exploitation and the system which cannot be corrected, only overthrown.

* * * 
TKP General Secretary Kemal Okuyan sentenced to 11 months in jail for “insulting Erdogan”.
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and soL columnist Kemal Okuyan, is sentenced to imprisonment for 11 months and 20 days on the pretext of “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan”.
A local criminal court in Istanbul has decided on Jan. 18 to impose imprisonment for 14 months on Okuyan decreasing the punishment to 11 months and 20 days due to “mitigating circumstances” for having written a column that allegedly defamed Erdogan.   
The court has converted the prison sentence into a fine, adding that Okuyan would be imprisoned if the fine were not paid. Many people and politicians have faced such sentences in recent years in Turkey.  
The court alleges that Okuyan insulted Erdogan through a column dated July 28, 2015. “Did the country surrender to a maniac?” was the title of the column by Okuyan.  (soL international)