Organ of Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North
Volume 1, Issue 3; March 2003 $1.00
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
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:
?What we do together will help to determine whether peace takes hold
in the Middle East, whether tolerance takes root in the Balkans, whether
young democracies succeed in the Caucasus. The way we do business together
will help to determine whether our people have the jobs and reliable sources
of energy necessary well into the new century.?
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:
?Today, Turkey?s strategic role in the world continues to challenge
it with many contending forces. It is perhaps a misfortune to be strategically
located, but it is our good fortune that Turkey occupies the strategic
location that it does. Turkey is central to building peace from Southeastern
Europe to the Middle East and eastward to the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Turkey is key to fashioning a Europe that is undivided, democratic and
at peace. And Turkey is crucial to bridging the dangerous gap between the
West and the Muslim world.?
Rejep Tayyyip Erdogan (AKP Leader)
2) The AKP and the Military
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
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.
3) Negotiations and the ?Stalling? Tactics of the Turkish Ruling
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
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:
"We really have no access to the [Persian] Gulf except through Kuwait.
It would put all of our advance on one line of advance; it would greatly
complicate the logistic problems; it would complicate the supply problems
and make our line of advance far more predictable. There would be the difficulty
that Iraq would be able to predict the lines of advance and that it would
be relatively secure in the north."
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
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.
4) The Kurdish Question And Turkish Ambitions.
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
"We cannot know what the US thinks about the current situation in Iraq.
But we cannot accept the de facto establishment of a Kurdish state in any
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.
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
"We feel less threat from the regime of Baghdad than from the current
threat of Turkish occupation. Saddam has killed many of our people. He
can kill more Kurds ... but this Turkish occupation, if it happens and
I hope it will never happen, is aimed at strangling the hopes and aspirations
of our people. Turkey is responsible for killing more than 100,000 Kurds
in its bloody war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). More than 5000
Kurdish villages have been destroyed by Turkey in North Kurdistan (Turkish
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
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.
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:
?The US is abandoning plans to introduce democracy in Iraq after a
war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, according to Kurdish leaders who recently
met American officials. The Kurds say the decision resulted from pressure
from US allies in the Middle East who fear a war will lead to radical political
change in the region. The Kurdish leaders are enraged by an American plan
to occupy Iraq but largely retain the government in Baghdad. The only changes
would be the replacement of President Saddam and his lieutenants with senior
US military officers.?
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,
?We don?t want a weak federal government that plays into the hands
of regional powers... We don?t want the Iranians to be paying the Shiites,
the Turks the Turkomen, and the Saudis the Sunnis.? Nevertheless, they
will be holding ?the Kurdish card? firmly in their hands, to blackmail,
intimidate and orientate the policies, especially of Turkey and might reverse
their policy of a ?unitary Iraq? in the future and might push for an ?independent
Kurdistan? if their and their Zionist ally?s interests necessitate taking
such a step.
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:
?In Germany first they came for the Communists, and I didn?t speak
up because I wasn?t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn?t
speak up because I wasn?t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn?t speak up because I wasn?t a trade unionist. Then they came
for the Catholics, and I didn?t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then
they came for me-and by that time no one was left to speak up.?
NOTE: A FULLER VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE IS IN:
ALLIANCE MARXIST-LENINIST THEORETICAL JOURNAL,