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Are Jordan and Turkey Invading or about to Invade Syria?

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Erdogan: Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy?

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading Syria?

Asks the Daily Beast.

Or are they just messaging to Obama that they’ve had enough with his non-policy?

Turkey announced plans to send 18,000 soldiers into Syria. That announcement was amplified by Jordan’s, which came out the next day in a Financial Times story that reported the Jordanian plan was “backed by key members of the international coalition against Isis.”

One key member of the coalition that definitely has not backed the plan is the U.S.

A State Department official, speaking the same day the story about Jordan’s planned buffer zone broke, downplayed the possibility to reporters, saying there was no “solid evidence” for it and citing “serious logistical challenges” in creating them.

Turkey and Jordan, on Syria’s northern and southern border respectively, have a common interest in erecting buffers zone. Both countries have absorbed large refugee populations fleeing the war and both are threatened by the growing presence of hostile actors on their doorsteps, be they jihadists are Kurdish nationalists. A buffer zone is an area controlled by military forces, either national armies or those of allied rebels inside Syria that would allow the Turks and Jordanians to exert more influence inside Syria and prevent people and materiel from passing over the border. But those are old concerns that have been expressed by Turkey and Jordan before. The resurgence of plans for intervention suggests that new developments—namely the Assad regime’s deterioration and the success of Kurdish forces fighting ISIS— may be changing the calculus in Ankara and Amman.

Turkey, which first announced plans for a buffer zone, is threatened by the growing power of Kurdish groups who have had a series of recent victories against ISIS forces in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech last Friday, “We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.” He was referring to the increasing autonomy exhibited by the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD), an armed and U.S.-backed Kurdish affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey (and the U.S.) consider a terrorist organization. The PYD has made no mystery of its intention to establish “Rojava,” an independent statelet of Syrian Kurdistan tantamount to what the Kurds of northern Iraq have maintained for decades. Impressive military gains in Syria by the PYD’s paramilitary force, the YPG, have rattled Ankara more than ISIS has.

This follows the following report (28th June) in the pro-Kurdish site, Kurdish Question.

KQ News Desk

Turkish newspapers especially those allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have for the past few days been headlining discussions that have allegedly taken place between Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former government and current majority party AKP and the Turkish Armed Forces on a possible military operation into Rojava (West Kurdistan-North Syria).

The headlines began coming thick and fast after the President declared ‘I am talking to the whole world, regardless of the price we might have to pay we will not allow a Kurdish state in North Syria, to the south of Turkey.’ This declaration was made on 26th June, a day after ISIS gangs, crossing over from Turkey (North Kurdistan), massacred over 200 civilians in Kobanê.

It is also being speculated that there is no consensus between Erdogan, his de-facto party and the Armed Forces and that the latter are wary of any military operation due to the unknown results it may trigger. The Armed Forces are asking the President and AKP to get support and the go-ahead from the USA, Russia and Assad, commentators are claiming.

The Turkish state for a long time were calling for a no-fly and buffer zone in Rojava on the pretext of bolstering the fight against the Syrian regime and protecting refugees. This was rejected by the international community and only the training and arming of FSA elements was supported. With Erdogan’s latest speech it has become clear that his main concern is the autonomous cantons of Rojava.

 

An important article by Selahattin Demirtaş,   the leader of the Turkish, democratic socialist, feminist and pluralist  Party HDP which won 13% of the vote in the recent elections and now has 80 MPs,  which touches on the Kurdish issue appeared in le Monde yesterday: Le rêve d’une Nouvelle Turquie est possible.

One of the reasons for the HDP’s success, he notes, is that the Turkish government alienated the Kurdish electorate by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy. At the centre of this has been a claim that his government was the “self-proclaimed protector of all the peoples of the Middle East” (“autoproclamé protecteur de tous les peuples du Moyen-Orient.”)

He notes,

Pendant la résistance kurde à Kobané, ce discours s’est durci en des termes inacceptables pour les Kurdes. Alors que l’immense majorité du monde démocratique soutenait l’héroïque résistance des combattantes kurdes face aux assassins du Daech, ainsi que l’abnégation des femmes et des hommes venus de partout – qui, poussés par une conscience internationaliste, ont défendu Kobané, où a été perpétré l’un des crimes contre l’humanité du XXIe siècle – et qu’on pouvait entrevoir dans ces résistances l’espoir d’une paix au Moyen-Orient, « la chute de Kobané ne tient qu’à un fil », ne cessait d’ironiser M. Erdogan.

During the resistance in Kobane, this line hardened in a way that was unacceptable to the Kurds. The vast majority of the democratic world stood with the heroic resistance of the Kurdish fighters against the murderers of Daesh. The self-sacrifice of women and men who came from everywhere – driven by an internationalist conscience – defended Kobane, where one of the Crimes Against Humanity of the 21st century was  carried out. While one could see amongst this resistance hopes for peace in the Middle East, Erdogan could only mockingly comment, “The Fall of Kobane Hangs by a Thread”.

Update:  Syrian Kurdish group PYD warns Turkey not to intervene militarily.

Syria‘s main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country’s main Kurdish militia is ready to face any “aggression.”

The statement by the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, comes as Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from the Turkish border – a move that would also outflank any Kurdish attempt to create a state along Turkey’s southern frontier.

Kurdish fighters backed by US-led airstrikes have been on the offensive against ISIL in northern Syria for months, and now control a long stretch along the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey has viewed the advance with growing concern and has warned it will not tolerate the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria.

Two weeks ago, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is dominated by the PYD, captured the border town of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a crucial nearby border crossing used to bring in supplies and foreign fighters.

The capture of Tal Abyad cleared the way for the Kurds to connect their stronghold in Syria’s northeast to the once badly isolated border town of Kobani – where they famously resisted a months-long ISIL siege – and possibly extend it to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest.

“Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace,” the PYD statement warned. Rojava is a term that refers to Syria’s predominantly Kurdish region.

The PYD called on NATO members to prevent Turkey from carrying out any “reckless” intervention. It added that Syria’s Kurds want good relations with their neighbors and have no intention to set up an independent state.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired a National Security Council meeting Monday which covered developments in Syria. Pro-government newspapers said proposals ranged from loosening the rules of engagement to give Turkish troops a freer hand to fire into Syria, to a tanks-and-troops invasion aimed at occupying a 110-kilometer (70-mile) long, 33-kilometer (20-mile) wide buffer zone.

Turkish officials fear the creation of a vast and contiguous zone of Kurdish control could stir up separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish minority. Ankara is also concerned over reports that Kurdish rebels are chasing other ethnic groups, such as Arabs and Turkmens, out of the areas under their control.

The PYD statement said YPG fighters “are ready to repel any aggression by any party.” It called on Turkish officials to “stop their provocative and reckless acts.”

Those in direct contact with Turkish and Middle Eastern politics would no doubt be able to comment further.

Erdogan appears to be moving on the home front as well: Erdogan and Turkey move toward once-unthinkable grand coalition.

400 Leftist and other Foreign Fighters Join Kurds to Fight Islamic State Genociders.

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https://i1.wp.com/isyandan.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/3.jpg

Internationalist Leftists and Communists Fight with the Kurdish people.

The London-based Syrian Observatory For Human Rights says that 400 foreign fighters have so far joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The YPG has been active fighting against Islamic State (IS) in Hasakah, Raqqa and Aleppo provinces. The Syrian Kurdish group has been recruiting many of its foreign fighters through Facebook since last year. Recruits have joined the YPG from Europe, Australia, North America and South America. In addition, thousands of fighters that have joined from Turkey and Iran.

On 10th June, a New Leftist brigade was formed, modelled on the international leftist brigades of the Spanish civil war, called the Free Internationalist Brigades, reports IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Monitor.

The group consists of fighters from Albania, Armenia, Germany, Greece, Spain, Caucasus, and members from Turkish leftist organisations such as the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), Halk Kurtulus Ordusu, and Birlesik Özgürlük Güçleri (BÖG).

US citizen Keith Broomfield (36), died on 3rd June in the village of Qentere near Kobani. In addition, a German female fighter of the YPJ and a member of the MLKP died in clashes against IS around the town of Tal Tamer in last March.

A British YPG fighter also died after he was wounded in clashes with IS in the area located between the two towns of Tal Hamis and al- Hol in the province of al- Hasakah on March 4th. An Australia was killed in clashes with IS in the town of Tal Hamis in al- Hasakah on February 25th.

Bas News.

teleSUR  reports,

Internationalist Freedom Brigade say communist fighters from various nations will fight alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State
An International armed group has been formed in Rojava, the Kurdish region in north of Syria, called Internationalist Freedom Brigade consisting of communist and leftist fighters from several countries around the world. The Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) of Turkey and Kurdistan has been the main force behind the establishment of the group. The group’s main objective is to fight the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq and any other occupying forces, according to a statement by the group on June 11.

Statement: “We are in the International Battalion to Protect the Rojava Revolution”

The Middle East is turned into a sea of blood by the hands of imperialist blood suckers and colonialism. Through the ISIS gangs organized by the same forces, the region is being tried to be occupied and the people are being forced to submit. Massacres committed by the ISIS gangs against Christians, Yazidis, Assyrians and Muslims, rapes, abductions and selling of the women and children, mass execution ceremonies, various inhumane practices are in fact the reflection of their imperialist masters and their centuries old practices.

The spectacular resistance of organized popular movements led by the YPG-YPJ against those who wish to drown peoples in this lake of blood, make them forget their languages, beliefs, lives and personalities have succeeded in Rojava, as it did in Kobanê, Shingal, Til-Hemis and Serêkaniyê.

The Rojava revolution has made a tremendous impact, the resistance of the YPG-YPJ has turned into a field that the impoverished peoples enviously admire, increase their solidarity actions and send fighters and it has became today’s Beqaa and today’s Palestine. The Rojava revolution is now, the Paris Commune under the German siege, Madrid of the Spanish Civil War and Stalingrad of the Second World War.

The Rojava revolution ran the power balances of surrounding countries, foremost Turkey upside down and has become the heart of the world revolutions that grow bigger every single day and a torch of resistance of the oppressed peoples.

As a women’s revolution, the Rojava revolution have created a strong women will against the male-dominated world reactionism and became its symbol.

Revolutionaries from the world who undertake defending the Rojava revolution and spreading its course as a historical duty and a responsibility have turned their faces towards the Middle East and have not hesitated, not even a moment to fight in fronts, shed their blood and die for the victory.

Revolutionary forces who have come to the lands of Rojava all around Turkey and the world to enhance and advance the revolution, as well as to greaten and carry the war to their lands have struggled for the essential contribution to the war and to the revolution.

We, who fight on every inch of Rojava, who die as martyrs, who raise the flag of resistance…

We, who fight up front against imperialism and regional reactionaries…

We, who confront the savage attacks carried out with all support in order to suppress the revolution by the ISIS gangs…

We, who live the revolution, who feel it in their veins and cells…

We, who realize the Rojava revolution, the peoples who live in Kurdistan, the workers, oppressed, women, internationalist revolutionaries who fight under the flag of YPG-YPJ…

We have taken an oath, made a promise to the ones who have fallen before us, to the values created before…

We are the Spanish, Germans, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Laz, Circassians, Albanians…

We, as internationalists, revolutionary forces, organizations, groups from all around the world have united under INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM BATTALION in order to defend the Rojava revolution.

The oppressed people, workers, labourers, women, youth, communities of different beliefs and identities, ecologists, anti-imperialists, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, democrats and revolutionaries; we call upon you to fight and triumph under the flag of INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM BATTALION to defend the Rojava revolution, increase our gains, enhance the fraternity of the people and the revolution of the Middle East and the region…”

Syandan.

Meanwhile there are those from Europe who have gone to join the genociders.

Community leaders in the home town of a West Yorkshire teenager who reportedly carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq have spoken of their shock at the news.

Dewsbury councillor Masood Ahmed said Talha Asmal, 17, was “no different” from other teenagers, and said people in the town were “devastated”.

Asmal is believed to have become Britain’s youngest suicide bomber, in an oil refinery attack south of Baiji.

His family say he was groomed online, describing it as a “tragedy”.

At least 11 people were killed in the car bombings carried out by four suicide bombers near the city north of Baghdad on Saturday.

Social media reports linked to militant group Islamic State (IS) said Asmal, going by the name of Abu Yusuf al-Britani, was among the attackers.

Asmal would be Britain’s youngest known suicide bomber. Another West Yorkshire teenager, Hasib Hussein, was 18 when he blew himself up on a London bus in the 7 July 2005 attacks.

BBC

Left Kurdish Party HDP Celebrates Breakthrough as Erdoğan’s Islamists Face Set-Back.

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Our Sisters and Brothers Celebrate Break-through of HDP Party.

The Kurdish news agency, Rûdaw, reports,

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Democracy won over dictatorship in Turkey’s general elections on Sunday, said Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the HDP that looks set to become the first Kurdish-rooted party to enter parliament.

“In this election, supporters of peace and the democracy won against dictatorship and autocracy,” Demirtas said at a news conference after initial results showed the HDP had beaten the 10 percent required to get into the 550-seat parliament.

“Our victory was the victory of the proletariat, the working class and the exploited people of Turkey,” Demirta said. “It was the victory of those who intend to raise the Kurdish question.”

Demirtas reiterated that he would stand by promises made during the election campaign.

“Whatever we said during the election campaign will come true. From now, the HDP is a real party in Turkey. Thousands of people have a share in such an outrageous victory.”

With 99 percent of the votes counted, preliminary results showed that the HDP had won 12.6 percent of the votes across Turkey. With 10 percent of the votes, the HDP would win about 80 seats in the next parliament.

The victory means that the HDP, which is a pro-Kurdish party, had managed to win the votes of many non-Kurds, ending the single party rule enjoyed by the AKP since 2003.

It also means that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who angered the political parties by going against the constitution and virtually campaigning for the ruling party, will not have the pliant parliament he wanted to change the constitution, place himself as head of government and obtain unprecedented executive powers.

“There was a high inequality and the attacks they conducted against our supporters during the election campaigns was against peace and democracy,” Demirtas said, referring to deadly bombings and attacks on HDP offices and rallies in the run-up to the polls.

Latest news on the results (Guardian),

Opposition party leaders appear to be in no mood to discuss forming a coalition with the AKP.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party, which won 80 seats have repeated its unwillingness to do a deal with Erodogan’s party. Its leader Selahattin Demirtas, said:

“We have promised our people that we would not form an internal or external coalition with the AKP. We are clear on that.”

More significantly the nationalist MHP is also in an uncooperative move.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said:

“Nobody has the right to sentence Turkey to an AKP minority government. Whenever there can be early elections, let them take place.”

The Republican People’s Party [CHP], which came second with 25% of the vote, says it is ready to form a coalition if the other parties honour their pre-election promises of not forming a government with the AKP.

This Le Monde headline sums up the results.

Législatives en Turquie : Erdogan voit son rêve de sultanat lui échapper.

Elections in Turkey. Erdogan sees his dream of a sultanate escape him.

As we have already  posted during the election campaign Erdogan has railed against the opposition with exceptional virulence.

The Guardian reports,

Even by his shaky standards, Erdoğan’s behaviour during the campaign was exceptionally boorish. As president, he is expected to adopt a neutral stance. Instead, he barnstormed across the country holding rallies in support of the AKP. The results thus look like a very personal rejection.

Erdoğan directed insults, accusations and threats at his political opponents, female activists, the media, non-Muslims, and ethnic and cultural minorities of all descriptions.

Last week Erdoğan dismissed the HDP as a party of gay people and atheists, a description apparently designed to pander to the prejudices of the AKP’s largely poor, devoutly Muslim working class base. He suggested the HDP supported terrorism and was in league with the PKK.

Erdoğan notably failed to condemn more than 70 reported violent attacks on the HDP’s candidates, rallies and offices. After bombs killed two people and wounded more than 200 at an HDP rally in Diyarbakir, in the mainly Kurdish south-east, on Friday, Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP leader, condemned Erdoğan’s silence.

“He should go to Diyarbakir. Is he not the president of 77 million people? He ought to leave flowers where people were killed,” Demirtas said in Istanbul. Erdoğan later offered condolences but said it was Demirtas who should apologise over Syria-related violence last October.

Erdoğan has also been engaged in a vicious slanging match with opposition media, accusing reporters and commentators who criticise him of being part of a conspiracy to undermine Turkey.

People with memories (and not long-term ones at that) will recall that Erdogon and the AKK have been lauded as the moderate face of Islamism….

Update: “The election represents a watershed in Turkish politics, writes Constanze Letsch Istanbul and Ian Traynor in an analysis of the success of the leftist Kurdish HDP.”

The election result brought forth an embryonic new Turkey, but not the one the president wanted.

It produced what is tantamount to a cultural revolution in Turkish political life. Women will pour into the 550-seat parliament in Ankara in unprecedented numbers, 98 up from 79. Openly gay candidates won seats for the HDP. Most of all, the long-repressed Kurdish minority (one in 5 citizens) will be properly represented in the parliament for the first time with 80 seats.

“This is the first time that feminists in Turkey actively supported a political party,” said feminist activist Mehtap Dogan. “Up until now we have always done politics on our own, away from parliament. But this time we ran a campaign supporting the HDP because we believed in their sincerity when it comes to defending the rights of women, LGBTs and ethnic minorities.”

The HDP is the first party to introduce a quota of 50% female politicians, and all party offices and HDP-run municipalities are chaired by both a man and a woman.

The party’s successful attempt to break out of ethnic identity politics and broaden its appeal well beyond the Kurdish issue owes much to leader Selahattin Demirtas’ magnetism and his message of outreach.

But the mass protest movement born in a central Istanbul park two years ago and which mushroomed into national protests which Erdogan crushed mercilessly also fed in to the HDP’s support.

“During the Gezi [park] protests, many got an idea of what Kurds had to go through for years: the violence, the repression, the unjust arrests. It opened our eyes to the Kurdish suffering,” said Dogan. “At the same time, we saw how the pro-government press tried to turn our legitimate, peaceful protests into acts of terrorism.”

Just as Erdogan branded the protesters two years ago “riff-raff”, “terrorists” and “foreign agents”, in the election campaign he stoked division and malice by repeatedly smearing his HDP opponents as “terrorists, marginals, gays and atheists.”

He asked religiously conservative voters not to cast their ballots for “such people who have nothing to do with Islam.”

The tactic backfired as many religiously conservative Kurds shifted their votes from the AKP to a party that promised to represent everyone’s interests.

Guardian.

Background:

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (Turkish: Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), Kurdish: Partiya Demokratik a Gelan) is an anti-nationalist[3][10]left-wing political party in Turkey, acting as the fraternal party to pro-KurdishDemocratic Regions Party (DBP). It was founded in 2012 as the political wing of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress, a union of numerous left-wing movements that had previously fielded candidates as independents to bypass the 10% election threshold. The party operates a co-presidential system of leadership, with one chairman and one chairwoman. As of 22 June 2014, these chairpersons are Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ respectively. The HDP is seen as the Turkish version of SYRIZA and Podemos.[11]

The HDP is a democratic socialist party that adheres to anti-capitalism and aspires to end religious, gender and racial discrimination. The party has a 50% quota for women and a 10% quota for the LGBT community when fielding candidates. The party is also environmentalist, opposing the introduction of nuclear power in Turkey and also speaking out strongly in favour of the Gezi Park protests in 2013 that began as an environmentalist demonstration. It is said to resonate with liberal, middle-class Turks.[12] Despite their anti-nationalist stance, the party has been perceived by some to be a Kurdish nationalist party due to their affiliation with the Democratic Regions Party and their support for minority rights. While the HDP maintains that the party looks beyond the traditional ‘Turkish or Kurdish’ dichotomy, it has openly participated in talks with imprisoned PKK rebel organisation leader Abdullah Öcalan.

More background: Turkey: Kurds, the working class and the new left — interview with Erdem Yörük.

Do not forget this: 12 YEARS OF MASSACRES IN AKP’S TURKEY.

The bomb attacks against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Amed (Diyarbakir) on 6th June has once again revealed the Turkish government’s (AKP’s) plans to massacre civilians in order to stay in power. Erdoğan and his team came into power with a discourse of advanced democracy but committed 17,153 murders during their time in power.

Human Rights reports reveal that AKP has offered nothing but death and massacres to the public since it came into power in 2002. Human Rights Association, Turkey Human Rights Foundation, and Labor and Social Security Institution reports between 2002 and 2014 shed light on the 12 years of AKP history characterised by murders. The reports of these three non-governmental organizations show that a total of 17,153 people were murdered through unresolved assassinations, extrajudicial executions, custody and prison, and work accidents during AKP’s time in power.

An important detail from the reports reveal that these murders have been constantly increasing since Erdoğan and AKP came into power with the promise of advanced democracy, particularly in Kurdistan since Erdoğan acknowledged the existence of the Kurdish issue in 2005.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 8, 2015 at 10:45 am

Parti de Gauche Backs Left Kurdish HDP Party in Turkish Elections.

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French Left Backs our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers. 

The Parti de Gauche (Left Party), one of the largest components of the Front de Gauche (Left Front) in France, has issued a statement in support of the HDP saying that HDP’s overcoming the electoral threshold in the general elections to be held on 7 June is vital to the future of Turkey and of Rojava.

Reports The Kurdish Question.

The statement of Parti de Gauche drew attention to the importance of the general elections in Turkey to be held on 7 June, stressing that the elections might open the possibility for the realisation of a democratic, social, peaceful and anti-capitalist project defending the rights of the workers and the minorities (Kurdish, Alevi people, LGBT individuals, women, etc. ) as well as promoting ecology and the protection of the environment.

The statement stressed that that project is today defended in Turkey by the HDP, which is the sole political force able to break the political hegemony of the AKP, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and its government.

The statement said: “The power in Ankara has understood this: While the AKP representatives hold offensive speeches and stigmatise the HDP as a “terrorist organisation” or as “dangerous for democracy”, they do not seek to bring to light the bombings on the HDP election offices that were carried out in Mersin and Adana on 8 May 2015”.

French Left Party also drew attention to the 10 % electoral threshold of in Turkey, calling it undemocratic and unjust, and stressed that the HDP’s having votes over the threshold will undermine the will of Erdoğan to strengthen his grip on the society by changing the Constitution towards presidential system and greater authoritarianism. The statement also said a probable victory of the AKP would be a threat to peace and exacerbate the abuses of liberties, secularism and women’s rights, adding that worse would be the continuation of the support of the AKP government to ISIS gangs to break the autonomy of Rojava, despite the failure of this strategy in Kobanê.

The statement concluded by stressing the support of the Parti de Gauche to HDP and its candidates in the elections, adding that the people of Turkey demonstrated that they would not give in to this repression as has been proved by the events of Gezi and the successful results obtained by Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the HDP in the presidential election in 2014.

The Parti de Gauche’s best known figure is JeanLuc Mélenchon.

Turkey’s general election set for Sunday is predicted to be one of closest in more than a decade for the ruling AK Party. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan increasingly is targeting the HDP, the pro-Kurdish opposition party, which is seeking for the first time to enter parliament as a political party. A surge in political attacks on the HDP has coincided with an increase in the number of violent attacks against the party.

With just a few days of campaigning left before the June 7 election, the pro-Kurdish HDP is facing growing political violence. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to try and stop protesters trying to break up a HDP party rally in the eastern city of Erzurum.

In the same region, a mob attacked an HDP campaign bus and set it on fire. The bus’s driver was reportedly injured; how seriously is unknown. An HDP activist was fatally shot Wednesday night in southeastern Turkey near his campaign bus, which was raked with gunfire.

…..

The wave of political violence follows a speech in the same region Wednesday by Erdogan, in which he strongly condemned the pro-Kurdish party.

“The Armenian lobby, homosexuals and those atheists – all these representatives of sedition benefit from any HDP success,” said Erdogan.

Even though the president is bound by the constitution to be impartial, he has been stepping up his political rhetoric against the HDP. Recent opinion polls indicate the party will just pass the 10-percent electoral threshold required for parliamentary representation.

Original statement:

Le Parti de Gauche soutient les candidat-e-s du HDP

Des élections législatives ont lieu le 7 juin en Turquie. Elles constituent pour les citoyen-ne-s turcs/turques une opportunité pour faire avancer un projet démocratique, social, pacifique et anticapitaliste défendant les droits des travailleurs/travailleuses, des minorités (kurdes, alévis, LGBTI, droits des femmes) et promouvant l’écologie et la protection de l’environnement.

C’est le projet défendu par la coalition HDP (Parti démocratique des peuples), seule force politique en mesure de briser l’hégémonie politique du parti AKP, du Président Recep Tayyip Erdogan et de son gouvernement. Le pouvoir d’Ankara l’a bien compris : tenant un discours violent et stigmatisant le HDP qualifié d’ « organisation terroriste » ou de « danger pour la démocratie » par des responsables de l’AKP, il ne cherche pas non plus à faire la lumière sur les attentats à la bombe dont les bureaux du HDP ont été victimes dans les villes d’Adana et de Mersin le 18 mai 2015.

Le système électoral turc, profondément injuste, impose aux listes en présence de franchir la barre des 10% pour être représentées au parlement. Atteindre ce seuil constituerait pour le HDP une première victoire. Cela mettrait à mal la volonté du Président Erdogan de renforcer son emprise sur la société turque en modifiant la Constitution vers davantage de présidentialisme et d’autoritarisme. À l’inverse, une victoire de l’AKP serait une menace pour la paix et aggraverait les atteintes aux libertés, à la laïcité, aux droits des femmes avec la mise en œuvre d’une insupportable politique de régression sociale. Pire encore, le soutien du régime turc aux forces de l’État Islamique visant à briser l’autonomie du Rojava (Kurdistan syrien) se poursuivrait, malgré l’échec retentissant de cette stratégie délétère à Kobané.

Le peuple turc ne se résigne pas à cette éventualité comme l’ont démontré les manifestations de Gezi, les événements de la place Taksim et le succès du candidat du HDP, Selahattin Demirtas, aux dernières élections présidentielles de 2014.

Pour ces élections législatives turques, le Parti de Gauche apporte tout son soutien au HDP et à ses candidat-e-s.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

Turkey: Black Sunday for Freedom.

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Turkey: Chuck Press that offends the Palace into the Bosphorus! 

Some time ago it was claimed that Turkey was an example of democratic, tolerant and pluralist  Islamism. That the Erdogan governments had established a more open country – at least in comparison to the nationalist Atatürk  parties and military regimes. Western leaders praised Erdogan’s pro-market policies. It was suggested that political Islam was evolving a home-grown democratic culture, with parallels to European Christian democracy.

How long ago this seems now!

The 2013 – 2014 protests in Taksim Gezi Park   indicated that not everybody in Turkey admired or accepted the politics of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The crack down on media outlets associated with the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (whose politics have been critically examined on Tendance Coatesy, Gulen Movement, an Islamic Opus Dei?) perhaps marks the moment when Erdogan has passed beyond the threshold of authoritarianism towards – crazed –  dictatorship.

Turkey’s President has drawn ridicule internationally for claiming that Islamic explorers discovered the Americas three centuries before Columbus, and for his Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işı’s assertion that it was Muslims who first found that the Earth is round.

Erdogan’s Palace has equally drawn attention to himself, “It is reportedly larger than the White House, the Kremlin and Buckingham Palace: Turkey’s new presidential palace spreads over some 50 acres of forest land, boasts 1,000 rooms, an underground tunnel system, state-of-the-art anti-espionage technology and a blend of modernist and medieval architecture. The ornate palace reportedly cost more than $350 million.”

A third bridge across the Bosphorous has been named after the 16th century Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim  – responsible for massacring tens of thousands of members of the liberal religious group the Alevis.  Selim was in many ways a forerunner of today’s Islamist genociders (1)

Plans to teach the old Ottoman language (in a form of Arabic script) indicate that the country’s leader looks to its own imperial past, rather than to democracy.

Turkey has been accused of playing an ambiguous game in Syria, covertly supporting jihadists and other Islamist reactionaries.

Earlier this year the Turkish state restricted use of Twitter alleging it was “biased” and had been used for “systematic character assassination” of….Erdogan.

Now there is this.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) shows no signs of reigning Erdogan back from his actions.

Turkish Press Review

Monday’s newspapers cover the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials across Turkey
 ISTANBUL

The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

On Monday, Turkish media outlets largely covered the government-orchestrated crackdown on local media figures and police officials in 13 provinces across Turkey.

All the people detained are alleged to have links to the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his so-called “Gulen movement.”

MILLIYET headlines “December 14 Operation,” and says the operation has been on Turkey’s agenda for a while. The total number of people in custody has risen to 25 since the crackdown began.

The daily said police took Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Zaman daily, into custody. There were some formal difficulties with detaining Dumanli initially, due to the lack of a necessary document.

Dumanli, who is a staunch critic of the government, dismissed all the allegations against him, and protested his innocence in a speech at the daily, before he was taken away by the police.

ZAMAN runs with the headline “Black Day for Democracy,” changing its logo and the whole front page into black, and says December 14 marked the worst day in Turkey’s history for freedom of speech.

The daily said the detainees were taken into custody after Parliament passed a law that enabled prosecutors to detain the people based on reasonable suspicion.

Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Hadi Salihoglu said he has ordered the detention of 31 people on charges of forgery, fabricating evidence and forming an alleged crime syndicate to overthrow the government. Earlier, it was reported that the prosecutor’s office had given the order for 32 detentions, but Salihoglu revised down the figure to 31.

Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Media Group, is another senior media figure who was detained earlier in the day.

Producer Salih Aslan and Director Engin Koc of a Samanyolu TV series were also taken into custody in Eskisehir province and sent to Istanbul, police said.

The front page of Monday’s HURRIYET reads, “First the Headline, Later Detention,” referring to the ZAMAN daily’s editor-in-chief holding an editorial meeting for Monday’s paper at 3 a.m., and then being taken into custody at midday.

The Zaman newspaper is alleged to be close to the so-called “Gulen movement.”

Turkish newspapers also covered Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s remarks about the wave of arrests across the country on Sunday.

VATAN quoted Davutoglu on its front page: “Those who infiltrated state institutions and wiretapped the president and prime minister must know that their actions have consequences.”

In December 2013, an anti-graft probe targeted several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.

The government then denounced the December probe as a “dirty plot” constructed by a “parallel structure,” an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country’s institutions, including in the judiciary and the police.

Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained on charges of eavesdropping on Turkey’s top officials, disclosing highly-sensitive information, forming an organization to commit crimes, violating privacy, illegally seizing personal information and forgery of official documents.

(1) From Ottoman Persecution of the Alevis (Wikipedia).

Typical persecution methods

From the early 16th century the Ottoman administration was specialized in “chasing” Qizilbāshes. This century was perhaps the most harsh century for the Alevis (Qizilbāshes). They were persecuted for both sympathizing with the Safavid struggle, but also because of their “heretical” beliefs. In order to capture Qizilbāshes the Ottoman state used several methods.

Being “Qizilbāsh” was a crime on its own and Qizilbāshes were kept under constant surveillance. Some of the most frequently used surveillance and persecution methods in the Ottoman Empire were:

  • Persecution based on others’ reports / notifications.
  • Open or secret persecution.
  • By asking people who were regarded as more “credible” or “objective”, for example officials or Sunnis.

Typical punishment methods

The Ottomans also had different methods of punishment against Qizilbāshes. Most of the punishments took place by fabricating a reason to kill them.These false accusations were often led into the formal procedures to make them seem more realistic.In cases where the accused Qizilbāshes had many sympathizers or relatives, the Ottoman regime tried to avoid riots by not killing too many at a time.[16]

Some of the most common punishments were:

  • Expulsion: Many Qizilbāshs were expelled to Cyprus and cut off from their villages and families, but the Qizilbāshes who were halifes were executed immediately. The most typical displacement locations were Cyprus, Modon, Coroni, Budun(?) and Plovdiv.
  • Imprisonment: Some were also jailed and then usually expelled to Cyprus to cut them off from their families.[20]
  • Forced labour: A second method of punishment was to send Qizilbāshs for forced labor on galleys (Kürek mahkumiyeti) where they should work as oarsmen.
  • Drowning: Some Qizilbāshes was executed by being drowned in the Halys River (Kızılırmak)
  • others were executed “on the spot”.[23] Other times Qizilbāshswere executed with the sole purpose, to deter other Qizilbāshs and give them a “lesson”.
  • Execution: This method, often termed siyaset or hakkından gelme in the Ottoman archives, was perhaps the most widely used method of punishment of Qizilbāshes.
  • Stoning: Although stoning was normally only used against people who had committed adultery, this punishment method was also used on Qizilbāshes. There is an example of a Qizilbāsh named “Koyun Baba” who was stoned because of his faith.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Isis: ‘Manufactured” by US, says Counterpunch.

with 5 comments

From US ‘Tool Box’ Says Counterpunch. 

Counterpunch published over the weekend these latest wise-guy revelations…

ISIS: the Useful Enemy

by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

The dark force of ISIS is apparently an invincible and unstoppable war juggernaut that is mercilessly killing and conquering in pursuit of establishing an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In reality, however, it is not as out of control as it appears. It is, indeed, carefully controlled and managed by its creators and supporters, that is, by the United States and its allies in the regions—those who now pretend to have established a coalition to fight it! 

Plumbing the depths Hossein-Zadeh tries to make political capital out of Kobane and the brave Kurds fighting there,

While the Kurdish city of Kobani in Northern Syria is being attacked by the disproportionately better armed forces of ISIS, and thousands of its besieged residents face certain mass killings if it falls, the forces of the “coalition to fight ISIS” are watching—in effect, playing a game of hide-and-seek, or perhaps trick-or-treat, with ISIS—as the outgunned and outmanned Kurdish forces are valiantly fighting to death against the attackers. Only occasionally the coalition forces carry out bombing missions that seem to be essentially theatrical, or just for the record.

Further,

The inaction or half-hearted action of the United States in the face of the preventable slaughter of the Syrian Kurds, which makes it complicit in the carnage, can be explained by its political horse-trading with Turkey in exchange for the Turks’ collaboration with the pursuit of its imperialistic interests in the region.

It is self-evidently true that the Islamist government of Turkey is viscerally hostile to the PKK and those in Syria allied to it. But Hossein-Zadeh does not propose any measures to alleviate their plight, or indeed express any solidarity with the people of Kobane.

How one could help them – leaving aside the inconvenient truth that the Peshmerga are actually there – are not his concern. He simply wallows in it.

The ‘argument behind all of this?

That, the US and its tentacles are at work. If  you thought Seamus Milne’s Theory of why the USA is against the ‘multi-polar world’ is half-baked read this:

The U.S. approach to ISIS would be better understood when it is viewed in the context of its overall objectives in the region—and beyond. That overriding objective, shared and reinforced by its client states, is to undermine or eliminate “the axis of resistance,” consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and, to a lesser extent, Shia forces in Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Achievement of this goal would also be achievement of another, even broader, goal: undermining Russia’s influence and alliances in the region and, by extension, in other parts of the world—for example, its critically important role within both the Shanghai Cooperation Council (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) and the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

And one doubts if many would go as far as this

To intervene in order to achieve these goals, the U.S. and its allies need pretexts and/or enemies—even if it means inventing or manufacturing such enemies. Without ISIS, resumption of U.S. military operations in Iraq and extension of those operations into Syria would have been difficult to justify to the American people. A year or so ago, the Obama administration’s drive to attack Syria was thwarted by the opposition from the American people and, therefore, the U.S. congress. The rise of ISIS quickly turned that opposition to support.

Viewed in this light, ISIS can be seen as essentially another (newly manufactured) instrument in the tool-box of U.S. foreign policy, which includes “global terrorism,” the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, weapons of mass destruction, Iran’s nuclear technology, Al-Qaeda, and many other radical Islamic groupings—all by-products of, or blowbacks to, imperialistic U.S. foreign policies.

Let us, generously, assume that this article is not the famous Hope-Tipping (Hat-tip Rosie) famous for saying the opposite of what everybody else believes (accusing”D H Lawrence of showing  a neglect of “the consciousness of sexual relationship, the male and female element in life).

So it is not to strike a pose the author claims, “Just because everybody thinks that Isis is virulently anti-US means….that the US created it……”

No we will not claim this. Counterpunch has published extremely well-informed material on the origins of Isis in the Iraqi and Syrian Matrices.

Well, okay,l one that I can find quickly:  The Rise of ISIS and the Origins of the New Middle East War Tariq Ali talking to Patrick Cockburn.

…..they come most immediately from al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was at the height of its influence in 2006 [and] 2007 when it was an element–but not the only element–in the Sunni resistance to a Shia government and the American occupation. Ideologically, it comes out of the Jihadi movement and actually its religious beliefs are not that much different from Saudi Wahhabism, the variant of the Islam which is effectively the state religion of Saudi Arabia with its denigration of Shia as heretics, [along with] Christians and Jews.

It’s just carrying these beliefs to a higher and more violent level but it’s very much in the context of the Jihadi movement. …. ISIS has a number of different kinds of support. It has support of the alienated Sunni community in Iraq and also in Syria.

That at least their victors, after all these people have been defeated – they were defeated in ’91 by the Americans, they were defeated again in 2003, they were marginalised, persecuted – so victory is important to them. I think also they appeal to jobless young men, I mean sometimes referred to as the underclass, but actually just the poor, poor young men.

One could develop further from this that the group has an internal totalitarian dynamic,  a machine of “disciplining and punishing” grounded in Islamism, that represents,as Cockburn suggests,  not a radical break with other forms of Islamism, but an extreme exaggeration of their repressive efforts to shape human beings according to Divine Law. Or, failing that to cage them within it.

We can discuss for a long time the geopolitics, the Invasion of Iraq, and at present, the Syrian civil war, the stand of Turkey’s government, that have favoured these developments.

The contradictions within the Iraqi Kurdish power  and the various Kurdish  movements (including their own Islamists) and the complex issue of the Kurdish movements, the PKK’s inspiring programme of egalitarian social measures, decentralised power, secular freedom and sexual equality would fill pages.

But the point now is to mobilise support for the Kurdish fighters against Isis/Islamic State.

All this is blown to the winds by Hossein’s ramblings. – more than typical of the contributions on the site.

Is this deliberate?

That the real wish is to pile all the misery of the beloved peoples of the Middle East on the ‘West’s’ back?

Who can be certain?

Counterpunch – just when you thought unpleasant conspiracy theorists had had enough.

As International Solidarity with Kurds and Kobane Grows is Counterfire Splitting?

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Düsseldorf Kurden Demonstration Terror IS 11.10.2014

IS= Fascism. Arms to the PKK and YPG!

A word of introduction.

There is a great respect in the broad labour movement for Counterfire activists.

They have helped, indeed initiated, the People’s Assembly. They have acted with  selfless dedication to help create an important bloc of organisations that has brought together  people on the left, trade unionists, and campaigners. The People’s Assembly is effectively the only mass movement in the UK challenging austerity and acting for a wide range of left policies and causes.

In view of this, and (some might say) breaking with the habit of a lifetime, this is not a sectarian attack but expresses some genuine concerns.

Last Saturday John Rees, a leading member of Counterfire, spoke at the London Demonstration in support of Kobane.

This protest  was but one of the expressions of solidarity with Kobane that have been sweeping the world, from Turkey and  Europe to Australia (the comrades at Shiraz signal how a local group can help).

Rees noted the manoeuvres of the regional powers, the unhelpful impact of the US-led intervention, and,.above all,t eh disgraceful stand of Turkey – sitting and watching as the beloved people of Kobane face the genociders of Isis.

Rees stated, very clearly “arm the Kurds!” (1)

As if to back this declaration up Counterfire  published (October the 9th) this declaration by the Kurdish-Turkish Day-Mer centre,

Nato member Turkey is effectively allowing Isis to destroy the Kurdish city of Kobane. This press release by Turkish Kurdish organisation Day-Mer, calls for international solidarity and for Turkey to allow Kurdish heavy weapons through to defend the city

On the same site,  pointedly marked “Opinion” we had this, from  Lindsey German and Robin Beste (October the 12th), Ten reasons to oppose military intervention in Iraq and Syria. It concentrates on the reasons for the conflicts, blamed entirely on the ‘West’. Terrorism is apparently, the “product of the west’s disastrous foreign policies, endless wars and backing of barbaric regimes in the Middle East There is only one section dealing specifically with the Kurds . It reads.

The issue of the Kurds is central to countering Isis expansion in the region. The Iraqi Kurds are close allies of the west, but there is a very different attitude to the Kurds in Turkey and Syria. The PKK, which has been struggling for Kurdish self-determination for decades, is still listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. This is despite the PKK and its allies being prominent in the battle against Isis. Turkey has oppressed the Kurds for many years and will not help those in Kobane, now under imminent threat of seizue by Isis. Turkey could open its border to the Kurds, but refuses to do so, in contrast with its support for Isis in the past. Instead the Turkish parliament has voted to create a ‘buffer zone’ at the Syrian border which will involve the disarming of the Kurds.

Bombing (again no mention of US strikes near Kobane) will be “counter-productive” and not help anybody.

Their only practical demand is that,

Iraq and Syria should be flooded with humanitarian aid, particularly for the millions of refugees who have been fleeing the wars. The refugees should receive the aid and support they need, and not be treated as potential terrorists within Europe.

So, we are left in no doubt that some Kurds are “close allies of the West (bad), the PKK (good? it’s not explicitly said, ) and Kobane are threatened by Isis.

What the defenders of Kobane (and other Kurdish areas) should do (providing that is they are not “allies” of the West is left hanging in the air.

As are the Kurds facing the genociders of Isis.

It would seem that one part of Counterfire backs arming the Kurds and the other does not. 

Meanwhile German’s isolated Stop the War Coalition has published a disgraceful  morally corrupt article by a certain, Musa al-Gharbi.

One of its sections reads,

Finally, many Westerners have been horrified by ISIS’s persecution of religious minorities (especially crimes against Christians). However, the United States is complicit in this as well: US policies in Iraq helped spark this cycle of sectarian violence.

Meanwhile, its own armed forces were indoctrinated with anti-Muslim propaganda– complete with recommendations for servicemen to resort to “Hiroshima tactics,” in a “total war against Islam,” in which protections for civilians were “no longer relevant.”

Reflective of this mentality, the armed forces have been heavily infiltrated by white-supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups who believe and act as though they are engaged in a holy war to begin in the Middle East and then be carried back into America.

This institutionalized misrepresentation of Islam and dehumanization of Muslims probably played a significant role in the aforementioned atrocities.

Musa al-Gharbi tries to deflect blame from those culpable of gencodical crimes by whataboutery.

His specious rhetoric about ” misrepresentation of Islam and dehumanization of Muslims” is not accompanied by any concern for the fate of the directly dehumanised Kurds.

Al-Gharbi  is silent – there is no “Authentic Outrage” from this special pleader about the need for armed help for the beloved people of Kobane.

Well, he would be quiet, wouldn’t he? 

 (1) He also , hat-tip GH, “totally bizarrely called for Hamas, Venezuela, the ANC/SA, to arm the Kurds .. as if that could possibly happen!” But we let this pass.