The two terror attacks in Ankara within a month not only took many innocent lives but also played into the hands of Erdoğan’s regime, as they rendered the Kurdish people’s demands for freedom and their struggle against the regime disreputable. In terms of the methods used and their results, such political acts are no different from the attacks of ISIS’s cut-throat jihadists on the Kurds, the working class and socialists. This cannot be the way towards a world free from violence and oppression. Whatever the justification might be, Sosyalist does not identify with political acts and methods that play into the hands of the ruling class, as the latter renders the legitimate struggle of the working class and Kurdish people disreputable. Foremost among these methods is individual terrorism.
Two terrorist attacks occurred in the heart of the two biggest cities of Turkey. 42 people died in these attacks; the one in Ankara was claimed by TAK (Teyrêbazên Azadiya Kurdistan / Kurdistan Freedom Falcons); the other was undertaken by ISIS in Istanbul.
As these attacks directly targeted civilians and caused fear and concern, those who defend their power are trying to make us believe that this is ‘destiny’. For example, Abdulkadir Aksu, a well-known pro-AKP journalist, has stated that we have to “get used” to living with terrorism.
President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu tried to blame the bombing in January on the Kurds of the PYD, as a pretext for a military intervention into Rojava and Syria. They intend to use the latest attacks to brand everyone who opposes them as terrorists, and therefore suppress them. According to this logic, they will expand the meaning of ‘terror’ to bring every opponent of Erdoğan into its scope! They have already concocted a concept of ‘unarmed terrorists’ and have begun to use it.
Erdoğan, who loves to challenge Western states in his speeches, is in fact imitating them. Erdoğan and the AKP government are using the same methods as the imperialist governments of the USA, France and elsewhere as an opportunity to trim democratic rights against the claims of the working class and strengthen police powers, They are counting on passing legislation along these lines as they stir up the fears that the last attack has inevitably created among big sections of the population.
All the legislation and regulations Erdoğan and the government are planning are designed to suppress all kinds of demands and rights by the Turkish and Kurdish working people. These are political means of suppression for everybody who opposes corruption, unemployment, high costs of living and environmental destruction (in Artvin Cerattepe, a town in North-Eastern Turkey, people organized resistance against mining activities in order to defend the environment) along with the long-standing Kurdish people’s claims for democratic rights. This legislation will be used against metalworkers who are struggling for their demands, and against any other possible workers’ struggles in the forthcoming period.
Erdoğan and the AKP are responsible
Erdoğan and his supporters in the AKP government are primarily responsible for this. They have converted the Kurdish question into a ‘civil war’ and have supported jihadist groups, driven by their neo-Ottoman imperialist ambitions over Syria.
No terror attacks can smooth over state massacres. The Kurdish people have experienced a great tragedy since July 2015. Having put a brutal end to the negotiations with the Kurds, Erdogan is pursuing a huge war in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’ using all sections of the armed forces. The situation in Cizre after a three-month curfew is increasingly comparable with Aleppo or Kobane, which was torn apart by ISIS’s siege. Recently, 200 mostly civilian and injured people who were trapped in three basement floors of a building were murdered in front of the eyes of all Turkey. Becoming inured to those attacks against the Kurds is no different from keeping silent about the terror attacks taking place in Ankara and İstanbul.
The AKP has never hesitated to support gruesome jihadist organizations due to its neo-Ottoman ambitions and its perceived ‘nightmare’, created by the possibility of the Kurds in Northern Syria using their right to self-determination. As a result, the Turkish state has turned towards the backyard of the jihadists. Those jihadists have so far committed attacks on Kurds, the labour movement, socialists and non-Muslim tourists. Thirty-three young socialists in Suruç, 102 demonstrators demanding ‘Peace, Democracy and Jobs’ in front of the Ankara railway station and 16 tourists in İstanbul were murdered as a result of these butchers’ attacks. Apparently, ISIS has not set the state as a target; whenever this happens, that will be the time when Turkey’s ‘Pakistanization’ begins. ISIS supporters within Turkey and militants fighting in their ranks in Syria would certainly like to turn Turkey into a new Afghanistan or Pakistan, where the substructure is demolished and people lose their lives every day – even though society in Turkey is more developed than in those countries, and the working class stronger.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan and the government accuse every critical voice and opponent of the regime of spying or of supporting terrorism. Can Dundar and Erdem Gul were accused and charged with spying just because they revealed state documents about the policies of backing jihadist forces. Hence, to keep silent in such situation means to keep silent about the creeping ‘Pakistanization’ of Turkey.
Our method is strikes, mass demonstrations and occupations
It is a great irony that the two attacks carried out by TAK, claiming to struggle for the rights of Kurdish people, and that carried out by ISIS, who burn alive, behead and ruthlessly kill people have largely been equated in people’s minds.
In his interview to the BBC Turkish service, Serhat Varto, a spokesman of the KCK (the urban organization of the PKK) said: “We are not struggling just for Kurdish people. We are struggling for all peoples in Turkey to live as equals, freely and brotherly… Such political acts are harmful for our objectives. We call on everyone to avoid this. While carrying out acts oriented at state forces, we have to keep a distance from attitudes that may harm peoples’ desire and will for co-existence”. He denied any connection with the attacks; however it is not quite convincing that TAK is carrying out those attacks without the knowledge of the PKK.
If this situation goes on, it will be increasingly difficult to build unity between the legitimate struggle of the Kurdish people and the struggle of the broader working class. The HDP has condemned the terror attacks; this correct political stand has partially disappointed Erdoğan and the nationalists. Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI-Turkey) supports this statement of the HDP. Ordinary people living in the West of the country are not responsible for the state massacres in Northern Kurdistan, nor are Kurdish people demanding their democratic rights responsible for the terrorist bombings.
A struggle against both Erdoğan and the AKP is necessary. For a regime that destroys even the last vestiges of legality, arrests academics just for signing a peace declaration, imprisons journalists for doing their job and responds to even the smallest demonstration with water cannon, the only way to survive is division. We have to reject the ruling class’s attempts to maintain their rule by dividing us. On a class basis we are the majority and they are only a handful. We are the strongest as long as we consciously organize for this struggle. The working class holds great power within the production process and the economy as a whole. Nothing will happen unless we unchain this power via mass strikes, demonstrations, and occupations.