The ultra-reactionary movement Daech (known as the so-called Islamic State) has targeted Monday, July 20, 2015, the cultural centre of Amara in the city of Suruc in Turkey, which hosted a meeting of 300 young of Kurdish leftists, members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF, by its initials in Turkish), who were preparing to go to the town of Kobani, predominantly inhabited by Kurds but also of Arabs, in Syria in order to participate in its reconstruction. These young revolutionaries had left Istanbul the day before the terrorist attack, to present themselves as “children of Gezi”, children of the protest movement that began in Istanbul in June 2013. In a video of their campaign a socialist youth of the SGDF said: “We will plant five hundred trees in the name of revolutionaries who were killed in the resistance against the Islamic State in Kobani. We will also plant fruit trees in the name of Berkin Elvan [who was killed during the Gezi protests at the age of fifteen], reconstruct the war museum in Kobani, rebuild the library and nursery at the cultural center, build a playground, and join the cleaning efforts in the city center of Kobani.” These young people were bringing books, toys, clothes and young trees to plant them. The terrorist attack caused the death of more than 30 victims and hundreds of injured. Meanwhile, Daech also attacked the town of Kobani at the same moment. These new barbaric crimes of Daech come in addition to the numerous crimes and massacres of the ultra fundamentalist movement in Iraq and Syria and also across the Middle East region and North Africa in its totalitarian and reactionary project that target all the peoples of the region without exception. In Syria, Daech has particularly attacked and targeted Syrian revolutionaries in the zone they control.
This terrorist attack must nevertheless be understood as a consequence of the AKP government policies in collaboration with the Turkish “deep state” dominated by the Turkish military command since the beginning of the revolutionary processes in the region since late 2010 and early 2011. These two reactionaries forces have steadily come to a rapprochement and collaboration in recent years despite significant opposition between the two actors when AKP reached power in 2002, as we have seen it during the Gezi protests in the summer of 2013. In addition to this, it should also be reminded the strengthening of the authoritarianism of the AKP’s government in the past last years: multiplication of draconian laws and others giving more weight to security and police forces, violent repressions of popular movements such as during the Gezi protests in 2013, of demonstrations such as at the Gay Pride in Istanbul recently, or of the 1st of May, repression against labour strikes, use of sectarian rhetoric against Alevis, conservative and reactionary discourses against women, notably Erdogan stating that gender equality is against nature, not to mention the affairs of corruption, strengthening the hold of the Executive on the judiciary throug a bill adopted in December 2014 and other manipulations of the judiciary, especially when four Turkish senior prosecutors who had instructed investigations of corruption against high AKP personalities in the winter of 2013 and 2014 were removed from office for disciplinary reasons, etc …
As highlighted rightly by numerous Turkish progressive activists, it is also strange that the Turkish army that is so effective at turning away Syrian civilians fleeing the bombing of the Assad regime or attacks from Daech and attempting to illegally cross into Turkey, as it occurred last weekend when almost 500 Syrian civilians, including children and women, were arrested by the Turkish security forces for trying to cross illegally into Turkey, but are unable to provide security to a gathering of 300 people in a cultural centre … Moreover buses of the young socialists were followed from Istanbul by plainclothes policemen. Also the governor of Urfa had ordered in June to stop journalists who asked him questions about the presence of members of Daech in his city.
The Turkish police in Istanbul also repressed the demonstrations in solidarity with the victims of Suruc on the same evening of the terrorist attack.
The AKP government has actually supported in Syria Islamists and jihadists actors against Syrian and Kurdish democratic forces of the revolution. This has particularly been observed when the leader of the army of Islam Zahran Alloush, located in the countryside of Damascus and guilty of numerous exactions against Syrian activists and notably the kidnapping of revolutionaries such as Razan Zaytouneh, was able to visit Istanbul without any problem to get to a conference of clerics, while many Syrian civilians are rejected at the Turkish borders… The Turkish government has also gone blind at the passage of jihadists to Syria from Turkey, turning the latter into a transit zone for jihadists from around the world. Collaborations between the Turkish army and some Islamist and jihadi groups were also discovered. In May 2015, former prosecutor of the Adana region, Bagriyanik Suleyman and his deputies Ozcan Sisman Aziz Takci and Ahmet Karaca were arrested by the Turkish authorities and appeared before the Adana court. Former Colonel Ozkan Cokay was also arrested because of his rank of highest army ranking in the region. The four prosecutors were transferred and suspended after having ordered the search of several trucks and buses in the provinces of Adana and Hatay, bordering Syria, in January 2014, because they suspected them of smuggling “arms and ammunition” to Syria. A series of documents were then circulated on the Internet stating that the seized trucks were actually vehicles from the National Intelligence Agency (known as the MIT) delivering weapons to Islamist groups fighting the Assad regime.
In the autumn of 2014, when Daech was besieging during long months the town of Kobani causing the departure of about 200,000 people, the AKP government refused to help the Kurds or to allow the passing of PKK fighters across the border to fight the jihadists. During this period, tents to accommodate refugees were destroyed and a human chain for peace activists along the border was attacked with tear gas at the border with Kobani. It was at that moment that the Turkish President Erdogan said that the PKK was worse than the terrorists of Daech… The Turkish authorities imposed at this same period a curfew for the first time since 1992 in six provinces in the predominantly Kurdish populated regions following large demonstrations by members of the Kurdish people against the AKP government’s policy of not willing to help the city of Kobani and refusing the passage of the Kurdish fighters into Syria.
The main goal was and is to this day for the AKP government to prevent any form of autonomy of the Kurdish people in Syria, while supporting fundamentalist movements in Syria with ideological and political affinities and having connections with the central government in Istanbul and which are hostile to any form of autonomy of the Kurdish people.
These policies and the chauvinistic discourse of President Erdogan makes difficult any continuation of the peace process begun with the PKK in 2013 and is now completely blocked…
During the last legislative election campaign, the movement of the People’s Democratic Party, known as the HDP, which achieved a historic score of 13.1% and obtained 80 deputies, was also the target of many aggressive intimidations by the AKP party and particularly of President Erdogan, not to mention physical attacks by Turkish far right nationalist movements or of bomb attacks against election meetings of HDP. This party, which is in its majority composed and based in the Kurdish population, has managed to broaden its appeal beyond the only Kurdish population (20% of the population in Turkey) by a democratic and progressive political program that recognizes the Armenian Genocide, defends the rights of LGBTQI people (with the first openly gay member of parliament) and defend the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, while over 40% of its elected deputies are women.
These policies have a historical basis of discrimination and repression of the Turkish state against the Kurdish people, whose identity is still in many ways denied despite some advances, whether on the cultural, socio-economic and political level. It is in this context that the movement of the PKK and its members have been criminalized. There are more than 8,000 Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey. It is necessary to condemn in this framework the PKK’s inclusion on the lists of terrorist organizations, such as the one of the EU, although political differences and criticisms can exist regarding the PKK.
The AKP government and the Turkish “deep state” dominated by the military have a responsibility in this barbaric massacre committed by Daech, which is why we also oppose these two actors, as any movement claiming a Kemalist heritage. These two reactionary forces have to be combatted in order to hope for a radical change in Turkey and to move towards greater democracy, social justice and equality for all popular classes in Turkey, for the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people in Turkey (as well as in Syria, Iraq and Iran) and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other popular causes…