Organ of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America)
                                Volume 1, Issue 3; March 2003 $1.00

A L L I A N C E ! ,A Revolutionary Communist Monthly

As Clouds Gather:  Turkey and Kurdistan on the Eve of the US War with Iraq.
By Garbis A. (special to ALLIANCE!)

                                                  US AIR BASES TURKEY

1) Turkey, US Stooge.  And the Divisions Within The Turkish Ruling Class.
    The Turkish state is a long-time supporter of USA imperialism ? witness the Korean war of 1950-53, its membership of NATO since 1952, its support to Israel and the Pahlavi monarchy in Iran, the hosting of NATO and US military bases, etc. In turn, Turkey is touted as a model for the Muslim world by its USA bosses. The former US President Bill Clinton made the official line vis-a-vis the brutal dictatorial regime clear when he praised the Turkish fascists in November 1999:     On March 13, 2002, Paul Wolfowitz, US Deputy Secretary of ?Defense? dubbed Turkey ? a truly indispensable nation? and praised her ?indispensable? partnership with the US, which has become even more important in the wake of the crisis that has gripped the world since September 11th, saying:

                                         Rejep Tayyyip Erdogan (AKP Leader)

    It is an open secret that the reins of power are still in the hands of the Turkish military, allied with pro-US and pro-European big capital, notwithstanding the composition of the parliament or the government, led by the AKP.
    All these allies and/or stooges of US imperialists and Israeli Zionists are more than ready for a war of aggression on Iraq and other Islamic countries and peoples, so long as their fears are alleviated and the right price is paid to them.

    But, as the AKP government appeases the US and the Turkish military, these ?moderate? bourgeois Islamists commit suicide. ?Moderate?, in this context means being a pro-Western Islamist party. The government, is forced to handle a most unpopular war of aggression against a Muslim country, while Turkey is still in crisis, the economy in shambles.  In 2003 Turkey must pay back around 73 billion US dollars in debts and services.  The coming war and its financial burden will make things much worse, especially for the already impoverished masses, who carried the AKP to power hoping for definite improvements in their daily lives and extension of democratic freedoms by curbing the power of the military.

    More than 90 percent of the population oppose the coming war. So the Iraqi crisis impells the AKP government and ruling classes, to intensify their demagoguery. They talk about the ?strenous efforts made by the government to avoid war?, about the necessity of protecting ?the national interests of Turkey? under the present circumstances and the inevitability of a Turkish intervention to prevent the formation of a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq.

                                                  Anti-war Demonstration Ankara

    Finally, though the bloc of big capital and the General Staff are for the Pentagon, they cunningly try to shift the responsibility of participation in this unpopular war away from themselves, onto the shoulders of the AKP government  and the AKP-dominated parliament to make them perform necessary explanations and face public wrath. The generals keep a very low profile and prepare to deny any responsibility, if and when the going gets tough. And it will get tough, since Turkey is in a lose-lose situation. It is likely that the bloc of big capital and Turkish military will strive to utilize this adventure to oust the AKP government, to still further weaken the bourgeois strata associated with it and discredit not only the AKP, but all shades of political Islam in Turkey as well. The identification of Islam with ?terrorism? in the aftermath of the events of 11 September, coincides with and closely fits the class needs of Turkish generals and big capital.

    Under the guise of secularism, the military has waged a decades-long battle against the Islamic bourgeoisie while also crushing the masses. Bush?s crusade against Muslim peoples and their anti-imperialist vanguards, allows Turkish generals to portray their fight to contain the AKP, as part of the world-wide
Continued on page five.

 struggle against ?Islamic terrorism.? The AKP is the most ?moderate? and pro-Western representative of the line of Islamic parties and has tried not to antagonize the military, nor to provoke its Kemalist and secularist prejudices. It is on good terms with US imperialism and its leaders expect a few crumbs thrown at them from the imperialist banquet table. Whatever the near future vis-a-vis the push towards war on Iraq and further, a longer term worse fate awaits the AKP upstarts. Even worse than befell their predecessors ?more traditional Islamic parties, such as the Welfare Party and Virtue Party led by Nejmeddin Erbakan - and they deserve it in full.

    For several weeks, Turkey and the US have conducted secretive and dishonest negotiations over the details of a US-led aggression on Iraq. Cringing before the ?awesome power? of the US, yet anxious to be in the victors? camp, and determined to prevent the formation of a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq, the main body of Turkish ruling classes pray for a rapid conclusion of American war against Iraq. Meanwhile, they strive to extort the greatest concessions by stalling or slowing down negotiations. Washington offers Ankara an economic aid package worth $ 26 billion - $6 billion in grants and the remainder in loans - to compensate for the losses incurred in any war with Iraq. But Turkish ruling classes, say that the 1991 Gulf War cost their economy some $40 billion, and demand more and more money.
    To maximize their gains, Ankara uses the overwhelming opposition of the people in Turkey as a bargaining chip, as well as the growing reluctance of AKP deputies who are under mounting pressure from their own constituents. However the Turkish generals and bureaucrats have secretly finalized concrete steps for military cooperation with the US, although Article 92 of the Turkish constitution expressly forbids any move to allow foreign troops in Turkey in the absence of international legitimacy in the form of a UN Security Council resolution.

    The US badly needs Turkish bases, ports and other facilities to open a second front to attack Iraq. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Anthony Cordesman, a former senior the US State and Defense departments and one of the top military analysts of the US, said:

    On February 6th, at one of its closed sessions, the AKP-dominated parliament passed a resolution, permitting the US to modernize and/ or utilize several military bases, airfields and harbors in Turkey, including Mersin and Iskenderun seaports, Injirlik and Batman bases, the Sabiha Gokjen, Chorlu and Afion airfelds etc. for the deployment and transportation of equipment, personnel and arms.

    After the 15-16 February worldwide peace protests, Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the AKP made a volte-face. In a speech on 18 February, he alleged that this permission given by the parliament did not mean an automatic endorsement of Turkish participation in war. On February 18, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that any large-scale US military buildup within Turkey's borders is conditional on passage of a second UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

    On February 24th, the AKP government prepared a bill authorizing the presence of 62,000 US troops, 65 helicopters and 255 warplanes in Turkey for six months. Later this time span was reduced to three months, probably to curb the reaction from the public. On February 26th, Turkey recalled its ambassador in Iraq and closed the border between the two countries. Meanwhile, endless behind the scenes negotiations continue between two sides on several details of this dirty operation. This, however, does not preclude the US imperialists from landing an undisclosed amount of weapons, vehicles and military personnel, although no official decision has been taken by the Turkish parliament with respect to the deployment of US troops. For quite a long time, units of US Special Forces and CIA agents have been in Northern Iraq and operate there together with both Turkish troops and pro-US armed Kurdish groups (of Barzani and Talabani).

    If parliament approves the bill, this will be the first instance Turkey hosts so many troops on its soil since the defunct Ottoman Empire
 Continued on page twenty-four.

                                         US Air Force General reviews Turkish Troops

Empire hosted German troops during the First World War. Last time, this adventure accelerated the breakup of the decaying empire and led to the slaughter and genocide of millions of Christian and Muslim peoples of Anatolia and Mesopotamia. It is highly likely that the present Turkish state might meet a similar fate, though not immediately, if it insists on allying itself with the axis of evil  of the US, Britain and Israel.

                                                   Kurdish Guerrillas

    The Kurdish question remains at the core of grossly exaggerated Turkish concerns over ?security?. Turkey, one of the most militarized states in the world, has waged a 15 year-long dirty war against the Kurdish people led by the PKK (?Workers? Party of Kurdistan?) in Turkish (or Northern) Kurdistan, between 1984 and 1999. The Kurdish resistance came to an end after the capture of  A. Ocalan, the PKK chief in February 1999, with the assistance of the CIA. However, even so, the Turkish army has not been able to defeat and rout the 15,000-strong guerilla force militarily despite conducting massacres, torture etc. on a massive scale, with the support of the US and Western Europe. The war craze of Yankee imperialism and their designs over the Middle East has both raised the spirits of, and alarmed - the Turkish ruling classes. They are very afraid of a revival of Kurdish national liberation war within Turkey and that of the united struggle of Kurdish people in Turkey and Iraq. In October 2002, H. Kivrikoglu, the Turkish Chief of Staff was already warning the US:     Now, in the course of American plans of war against the peoples of Iraq and the region, PKK (now called KADEK) has been compelled to change its tactics vis-a-vis the US and Turkey. Since 1999, PKK/KADEK has been openly capitulationist; it strived either for a so-called democratic compromise with Turkish reactionaries in return for a few crumbs; or it tried to offer the US its services for the USA plan of invasion of Iraq. In return, KADEK leadership expects nothing more than to
Continued on page twenty-five.

       Nostradamus' Village idiot prediction                Massoud Barzani -Reactionary Kurd Leader

be in Washington?s good graces and some minor concessions for Iraqi Kurds. Not only Turkey, but the US as well, seems to have rejected the overtures of the KADEK, whose guerillas have stopped armed struggle since 1999, withdrawn from Turkish soil and remained in their bases in Northern Iraq. Now, in conjunction with its war on Iraq and due to the pressures of Turkey (their old ally and lackey) and their own preference in of favor the reactionary Kurdish pro-US groups (Democratic Party of Kurdistan led by Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Talabani), the US imperialists seem to have decided to allow a systematic Turkish operation against KADEK guerillas.

    With no more room to maneuver, KADEK leadership has, since January 2003, begun issuing warnings that it would restart a legitimate struggle against Turkey, including armed struggle. Such warnings, however, seem of dubious value, especially in view of the level of degeneration of the KADEK leadership and its continuing efforts to beg the Americans for a place in the crusade against Iraq. Recently, the Turkish authorities admitted to the presence of thousands of Turkish troops inside Iraq, which they plan to support by a further 120,000 massed on the Turkish-Iraqi border. It seems that, while the eyes of the world will be fixed on the American war against Iraq, the Turkish army will try to gain its prize: the destruction of the KADEK guerilla force in Northern Iraq, which incidentally may not be an easy task.

    The US imperialists deftly play on the fear of their Turkish vassals with respect to the Kurdish question, to ensure Ankara?s participation in the war against Iraq. In the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1991, the power vacuum in Northern Iraq  helped the PKK to grow rapidly, acquire heavy weapons and to pose a real threat to Turkish fascists. Under today?s explosive conditions prevailing in Turkey, any such revival might provide an aperture through which the accumulated discontent of workers and toilers in Turkey itself, could be translated into mass action. That is why, Turkish fascists are so opposed to any moves towards the establishment of a Kurdish state and even any semblance of Kurdish autonomy in Northern Iraq. They are also suspicious of the arming of Kurdish fighters of Barzani and Talabani factions by the US, and are insistent on disarming them at the end of the war against the Baghdad regime.

    Turkish preparations to deploy an even greater number of troops in Northern Iraq, on the other hand, infuriate the Kurdish factions, who stand to lose the virtual autonomy they have enjoyed over the last 12 years. Kurdish factions, who have declared themselves in favor of ?a united federal democratic Iraq? have been raising their voices over Turkey?s expansionist plans. On February 22nd, Osman Ocalan, a member of the Presidential Council of KADEK, criticized the other Kurdish factions for their hostile attitude towads KADEK and called for ?national unity.? The Kurdistan Regional Government?s deputy Prime Minister, Sami Abdul Rahman said in a press conference on February 24th, that there were "disturbing" signs emerging from talks between the US and Turkey, as the Turkish military pushed for a key role in Iraqi Kurdistan.  Rahman added:

    On February 25th, the Kurdish parliament in Northern Iraq held an extraordinary session after the Turkish cabinet approved a decision to allow the deployment of foreign forces and of sending Turkish troops abroad.  The Kurds rejected  the entry of foreign forces into the region by an overwhelming vote. The same day Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani sent a letter to the Bush administration requesting protection from Turkish forces in the region.

    The new  balance of forces in favor of US imperialists, has emboldened Barzani and Talabani factions in their opposition to Turkey. As expected, they plan to enjoy the fruits of their cooperation with the Americans. Nevertheless, in view of their unstable, inconsistent and constantly shifting positions and policies, Barzani and Talabani factions remain open to cooperation with Turkish reactionaries. Until very recently, there were reports to the effect that, these two parties were once again working together with Turkish troops in Northern Iraq in their efforts to encircle and destroy KADEK guerillas.

    The efforts of Turkish fascists to bolster the position of a small Turkoman minority as a counterweight against Kurds; to insist on according the same political status to Turkomans as Arabs and Kurds in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq; and their long-term plans to change the population composition of Northern Iraq, contribute to the legitimate doubts of Kurdish people and parties.
Continued on page twenty-six. 

             Istanbul Anti-War                           Kurdish Guerrilla  

As to US imperialists, after a long period of vacillations, they seem to have taken into account the objections of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and dropped plans to reorganize Iraq as a loose federation, where Kurdish population would have a great degree of autonomy. Patrick Cockburn, a visiting fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington sent the following report from Northern Iraq on February 17th:     By pressing for an independent Kurdistan under their ?protection?, the US imperialists risk not only alienating Turkish ruling classes, but also provoking Turkey, Syria and Iran, all with Kurdish minorities inside their borders, to join ranks. The dismemberment of Iraq would add insult to injury, and risk alienating the wider Arab world and public opinion to an even greater degree. The US is particularly keen on averting interference by other regional powers, especially Turkey,  Iran and Syria. A high level US official stated that they were concerned about the ?ability of people like the Iranians and others to go in with money and create warlords? sympathetic to their own interests. Allegedy expressing the opposition of the US to allow Iraq to be divided into de facto spheres of interest, he added:     It is true that, for decades the Kurdish people have suffered a great deal as a result of the repressive policies of fascist and reactionary regimes in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, as well as manipulations and plots of imperialists, who in general have supported, armed and protected such regimes. It is also true that, the Kurdish people is entitled to have the same rights as other peoples of the region, including the right to national self determination. The tragic historical experience of the workers and toilers of the Middle East, as well as those of the whole world, however, have times and again confirmed the hollowness and bankruptcy of all bourgeois and imperialist ?solutions? to the national question. It has also demonstrated the fact that, so long as workers and toilers follow their reactionary leaderships and trust in imperialist powers, they will always be left in the lurch and suffer. Only through the solidarity and alliance of workers and toilers of various nationalities and the overthrow of imperialism and capitalism will the national oppression of small nations and nationalities be ended; only through a democratic and socialist revolution led by the party of the working class, will the brotherhood of workers and toilers of different nationalities be established. And, that is a task that can be shouldered solely by the working classes and their revolutionary vanguard parties. In the final analysis, there is no  way to end the sufferings of Kurdish people and to recognize their legitimate rights, including their right to have their own independent state, other than that of an alliance of working classes, which will put an end to the divide and rule game of US imperialists and its allies and lackeys and will rout them.     The servility of the Turkish ruling classes to imperialism, their comprador mentality and political myopia prevents them from seeing the the fact that, they are playing with fire. Allowing themselves to be blackmailed and cornered by US imperialists, the Turkish fascists are tied not only to the war chariot of the Pentagon, but also to that of Zionist Israel. They have turned themselves into a simple pawn in the American chess game for the domination of the Middle East. They will likely regret the consequences in the future. Already, there is talk in Washington and Jerusalem about taking on Syria and Iran, right after the war on Iraq. Such a course, shall still further isolate Turkish reactionaries both in the world in general and the Islamic world in particular and expose them as paid mercenaries of greatest terrorists on earth.

    By assenting to the invasion and probable dismemberment of Iraq (and maybe to that of Iran etc. in the future) Turkish reactionaries are setting a dangerous precedent. They may even be opening the way for the invasion and dismemberment of their own land through another US intervention. If the Washington neo-fascists intend to conduct aggression against Iran, Syria or another country in the Middle East in the wake of the coming war on Iraq, Turkey may be obliged to follow suit and thereby confirm her infamous title as a base tool of the imperialist West. This is no idle speculation. The Pentagon had originally demanded the deployment of about 80,000 US troops in Turkey and the right to use 10 bases in different parts of the country, including a Black Sea port near the Caucasus. This demand betrays the intention of US imperialists to use Turkey as a long-term staging area not only for ground attacks into Iraq, but also against other countries in the Middle East and potentially beyond, including the Caucasus.

    If other countries could be destabilized and redesigned, why not Turkey? The unforgettable words of Pastor Martin Niemoller who himself ended up in a concentration camp, can suitably changed -  be applied to the position of Turkey: