The bloody crackdown on the Kurdish areas of Turkey continues as Erdogan prepares a massive assault on several Kurdish cities. The leftist DBP has called for mass resistance everywhere.
Yesterday at least 2 people were killed as the police continued its indiscriminate attacks on certain neighbourhoods of the city of Diyarbakir and prepared for an assault on the towns of Cizre and Silopi.
Thousands of people defied a ban on a protest called by the leftist HDP party and joined in marches and protests around Diyarbakir in an attempt to break the siege on the Sur district. People broke down police barricades, prompting attacks by state forces with tear gas, water cannon and plastic bullets. Some police were also reported to have fired live ammunition in the city’s upmarket Ofis neighborhood. In spite of heavy handed attacks by the police, the crowds stayed on the streets.
Later the same day tens of thousands joined a funeral of the two young men who were killed by the state security forces. The main slogans at the funeral were, “PKK is the people, and the people are here” and "Sehîd namirin" [Martyrs are immortal]. The funeral was followed by one minute's silence and the Kurdish guerrilla march "Çerxa Sorese”. The two young men were laid to rest amid slogans calling for "revenge".
Meanwhile a massive offensive is being prepared against the towns of Silopi and Cizre. Tanks, armoured vehicles and heavy artillery are moving towards the "defiant" Kurdish towns from all over Turkey. Planes are flying in and out of the local airport carrying soldiers, police, special forces and Islamist thugs.
All hospitals have been put on notice to expect high activity and be prepared for many patients. The government has also ordered all teachers to leave town immediately. Schools in the Silopi district of Sirnak have been turned into military headquarters since the imposition of a curfew last night.
Already special ops forces are roaming the streets and randomly firing on people, probably in anticipation of a full scale assault. Special ops teams have also targeted the power transformers in neighbourhoods which therefore remain in the dark. Water and other utilities are also being cut. Snipers have also been positioned on high buildings.
With schools and student quarters closed until further notice, some teachers and their families scrambled to leave their homes. All buses being full, these teachers and their families had to walk around three miles to reach a nearby highway to find any means of transportation to evacuate the Kurdish town. Passing through the government checkpoints around the city they were asked whether they belong to the AKP-friendly teachers’ union or the progressive teachers, Egitim-Sen.
The Egitim-Sen decided to to resist the move to abandon their students. The co-chair of the Union in Sirnak, Serhat Ugur, confirmed the military buildup in their town before the expected Turkish state attack. He told Sendika.org, “I've heard about the 1990s generation [where the Turkish state had the entire Kurdistan under siege and murdered more than 40,000 people in its war against the Kurds], however, we are now in a situation worse than those days. We are living with atrocities many times worse than the 1990s. However, I am still going to school, facing all obstacles. But what kind of hatred, what kind of preparation is this that we are seeing, I am unable to comprehend. What will they say to this population tomorrow? They keep repeating that the main reason for these assaults is for the defense of the country and “all else is detail.” We are seeing a level of military transfer to the region never seen before.
“It is as if we have a war here. They are coming as if to destroy our whole town and raze it to the ground. How could such a move be justified? If this happened in Palestine everybody would be up in arms, we are following the news, but not a whisper of the events here is heard. We are facing a total annihilation. They (the government) are coming here as if to confine us inside for about 10-15 days.
“I am a teacher for more than 10 years. I’ve never seen such an order. We liken this order to evacuate the town to the threats received from ISIS before they take over a town where they promise to sever the heads of the people. We are wondering if the Esedullah team (an illegal, Islamic and racist organization inside the Turkish police force) will be raiding us. Our lawyers called the education ministry but the local department head replied that he is not aware of such an evacuation order. We are now in doubt as we are ordered to evacuate but the government is not standing behind its orders. Will they send the order in writing after the fact, we don’t know. Majority of the teachers have left town, but there are some left behind. I will not leave. We have teacher friends who say, ‘I am not only a teacher when the student has his/her school uniform on’ and refuse to leave and abandon their students. We have teachers who are from all over the country and refusing to abandon their students.
“People are thinking, just imagine what may happen if they even pull their teachers from my town. People will ask, will this be a surgical strike or a mass massacre. We have tens and hundreds of teachers who are disobeying the order to evacuate. We are not teachers only when our students are in their school uniforms. If any of our teachers are thinking about abandoning the town our suggestion is to stay here instead of leaving. We are teachers who also teach life and the obstacles and challenges in life and we are also the teachers for the entire population of the town and not only the students. We will stay here and stand by our people to keep them alive. We are not only tasked with teaching history or geography. Our students search for answers by looking directly into our eyes. If we leave, how can we look into their eyes, look at their faces when we return? There is a so-called policy to keep the children away from the war; however they are bringing the war to the children.”
Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist with the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper, sensed in Davutoglu's recent comments that preparations were under way to step up anti-PKK operations.
"This time, the emphasis in operations will be more on soldiers," he said. "The prime minister has spoken quite decisively, saying 'all districts will be cleansed of terrorist elements, from street-to-street, house-to-house if necessary'."
The Syrian civil war has been an important pillar in Erdogan’s plans to become a kind of modern-day Ottoman Sultan to rule the Middle East. In order to do this he has given support to jihadist forces such as ISIS and the official Syrian alQaeda branch, Jabhat alNusra. He has also used these forces inside Turkey to attack Kurdish and leftist activists, in particular of the HDP. The HDP, which is a leftist and Kurdish based party, swept into parliament with 13.5 percent of the votes last June on the basis of a rising radicalisation inside the country. This ruined Erdogan’s plans to change the constitution to concentrate powers in his own hands. This was the main reason for Erdogan to attempt to whip up anti-Kurdish sentiments and to divide the workers and the youth on national lines, while himself gaining the support of the right-wing of the nationalist movement.
All of this leads to a process of “Syrianisation” which is taking place inside Turkey. In Syria as well as inside Turkey, the Kurdish movement, led by the PKK sister organisation the PYD, has been the most efficient force fighting Erdogan's proxies and have even managed to take full control over large territories. This has also made them a favourite US ally on the ground. The success of the Kurds in Syria has had a significant effect on the success of the HDP and the Kurdish movement in Turkey. In both places the Kurdish movement and its radical appeal is the greatest threat to Erdogan’s grand plans. This is why he is intent on crushing the movement completely. In it he also sees the key to crushing the Turkish working class.
However, to think that he will succeed unopposed is wishful thinking. Already there is widespread organisation on the ground as people are getting ready to defend themselves. The General Co-Presidency of DBP (Party of Democratic Regions), which is the main party, although its regional bodies, behind the HDP, has sent a notice to all its organisations calling for uninterrupted mass protests against the war of the AKP government.
"The government has dragged the country into darkness by implementing a state of siege across the Kurdish region, mainly in Sur, Nusaybin, Kerboran, Cizre, Silopi and Idil. In response to these practices of denial, annihilation and systematic murder by the AKP state, all our officials and organisations should stand and take urgent action against this war concept on the basis of a disciplined and organised democratic action plan. Our provincial, district and town organisations should promptly initiate uninterrupted democratic actions, and stand against this massacre in all the areas", the party’s statement read.
If Erdogan thinks he can easily crush the Kurdish movement he is wrong. The movement has been strengthened over the past period by increasing industrialisation and urbanisation as well as the emergence of the HDP as a national party instead of a narrow Kurdish based one. At the same time the war in Syria has given the movement important abilities in waging a popular resistance. This brings the movement to another qualitative level. Nevertheless, the struggle cannot be won on the basis of an armed struggle alone. Only through the preparation of a regional mass uprising combined with a national strike movement, including all workers in Turkey, against war and against the Erdogan regime can the movement defeat the Turkish ruling class.
The International Marxist Tendency gives its full support to the Kurdish workers and youth and their right to resist against Erdogan's aggressions. We oppose all attempts at painting the Kurdish nation as having any part in provoking a war with the Turkish state. On the contrary, the Kurdish masses have shown extreme restraint in the face of an onslaught by one of the strongest armies in the world. We call on all our readers and supporters to raise the question of the one sided civil war against the Kurds in their schools, trade unions and party organisations and pass solidarity resolutions in support of their struggle.
Stop the war on the Kurds!
Down with the government of murderers and thieves!
Prepare a national working class movement to take down the Erdogan regime!