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Greece/Turkey

Against the economic war proclaimed by US imperialism on the Turkish government, stand by the side of the people of Turkey

Tuesday 4 September 2018, by Kostas Kousiantas

US relations with their long standing ally Turkey have now been at their worst, following the US president’s decision to declare an economic and diplomatic war in Turkey, doubling tariffs on imports of aluminum (20%) and steel (50%). The consequences for the Turkish economy will be huge: in one day, the Turkish currency (lyra) lost almost 17% of its value against the dollar, dropping 37% of its value against the dollar since the beginning of the year.

The reasons cited by Donald Trub to justify this attack are the continued detention of the evangelist pastor Andrew Branson, whom the Turkish government accuses of relations with Fethullah Gullen - the main promoter, according to the Turkish government’s allegations, of the failed coup of 2016, who has been asylum-seeker since 1999 in the United States.

In fact, according to the American press, it is the beginning of an economic and diplomatic war that will be escalate with "a bullet a day" against Turkey until Branson is released (Washington Post).

But the real reasons for this economic and diplomatic attack of the imperialist superpower against Turkey are not, of course, the freedom of the evangelist priest. The real reasons and roots of this unprecedented escalation in the relations between the two countries should be sought in the diversification of the foreign policy of Turkish imperialism in the Middle East region against the hegemonic imperialist plans of the United States and the EU and their most credible allies in the region: Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

It is about a long-term build-up of tensions that began almost immediately after Erdogan’s AKP took power in Turkey in 2001, with main events, the Turkish government’s refusal to the use of Incirlik’s base in 2003 in the war against Iraq, the EU’s decision to block Turkey’s accession negotiations indefinitely, the Turkish government’s conflict with Israel on the Palestinian issue, the Turkish government’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood parties during the Arab Spring, the refugee problem management and especially the role of the Turkish imperialism in the Syrian civil war, which was also the culmination of tensions between Turkey and the Euro-Atlantic imperialism.

The Turkish Government, by finding that the US, EU and their allied regional imperialist powers in the Middle East and Syria are increasingly in opposition to its own imperialist plans and interests, seeks to strengthen its relations with the Russian imperialism and Iran (key players in the Syrian civil war) in order to cope with what is the most important problem for Turkish imperialism: the creation of a an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan that could destabilize the interior of Turkish capitalism.

This conflict of imperialist superpowers with Turkish imperialism is equally reactive on both sides. All sides (including the Russian and Iranian imperialism that protect the bloody regime of Assad) are deadly enemies of the interests of the peoples of the region.

Therefore, the economic and diplomatic war launched by the US against Turkey is not to defend popular and democratic rights. And above all, it is a war, the victim of which will be the mass popular classes of Turkey, which will bear the full weight of these sanctions, and those who will follow. The collapse of the Turkish economy - something with what these sanctions are intended to blackmail the Turkish ruling class - will mean destructive austerity measures for the people of Turkey. It will also mean even greater autocracy and repression by the Turkish regime, against any form of resistance and disagreement with AKP and Erdogan’s policy.

The workers’ movement and the left in Greece should take a clear position against the financial sanctions of US imperialism. And first of all, against the efforts of the Greek government to take advantage of this attack to promote the interests of Greek imperialism.

The Greek Government considers that the escalation of tension between US / EU and Turkey creates a favorable environment for Greek imperialism and the alliance axis of Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus to move more aggressively to fulfill its aspirations in the Eastern Mediterranean (engraving an EEZ that will exclude Turkey from the Mediterranean) and the Aegean Sea (extending the naval miles to exclude Turkey from the Aegean). In fact, the Greek side hastened to give its own help to this economic and diplomatic attack launched by the US, with the decision of the General Staff of Defense (GETHHA) to suspend indefinitely the Confidence Building Measures (MEO) between Greece and Turkey (which among other things provided for the suspension of military exercises during the summer and the great religious feasts).

The peoples of Greece and Turkey will be the victims of this competition, which the Greek government is currently seeking to step up by supporting US sanctions.

At the moment, it is more necessary than ever, the labor movement and the left in Greece, to stand wholeheartedly and with all our might on the side of the left in Turkey, alongside the Turkish trade union movement, the Kurdish liberation movement and other minority movements , the Women’s Movement and the LGBTQIA+ Movement, supporting their struggles against authoritarianism and neo-liberal austerity, their struggles for freedom and democracy. Our solidarity with the movements of Turkey will strengthen their dynamism and determination to confront the efforts of the Turkish ruling class to load the consequences of the US economic war on the backs of the masses.

At the same time, however, against the extortion of the US and the EU, we must not forget for a moment that it is an inalienable right of the Turkish people to choose the political leadership they want. Even when we believe that this choice does not serve its interests, we are obliged to uphold this right against the imperialist forces that attempt, with the threat of hunger, to force people to accept political leaders willing to align with the imperialist hegemonic policy.

This, of course, can not in any way mean that we will overlook the criminal activity of Turkish capitalism, the AKP government and Erdogan itself within the country against the working class, the left, the Kurdish people and those who fight for the rights and the freedoms of the popular masses. We also do not overlook the criminal action of Turkish imperialism against the Kurdish national movements in Afrin and Iraqi Kurdistan.

The opposition against the Turkish bourgeoisie, the AKP government and Erdogan is the work of the people’s forces and the oppressed of Turkey. Our duty is solidarity and support for these struggles.

However, the economic and diplomatic war that is currently being launched by the US government will result in further strengthening the authoritarianism and militarization of the Turkish regime, and possibly even its ability to inactivate the resistance of the masses, posing the threat of imperialist aggression.

That is why we must declare with determination that we are against the economic sanctions that American imperialism is putting at the expense of the Turkish people. To call on the workers and every progressive person in the US and the EU to oppose the plans their governments are planning against the people of Turkey and the Islamophobia climate with which they are investing these plans.

Let’s turn to the people of Turkey, the movements and the left for a common struggle against the authoritarianism and militarization of our "own" governments, against the imperialist aspirations of our own "own" ruling classes.

Our solidarity and the common struggle of the popular masses of Greece and Turkey to serve as an example of internationalist solidarity and cooperation of the masses in the Middle East and the Balkans to claim and defend our democratic rights and freedoms for a common future without wars and oppression, for a common socialist perspective.

In order for this call to be heard, our voice must now become strong enough:

Against the economic attacks of American imperialism, we stand on the side of the people of Turkey.

Tuesday 14 August 2018

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