Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Turkey’s Dirty War Rages in Kurdistan

Since the beginning of the year, Turkey has been waging a dirty war against Kurdistan, terrorizing the civilian population with chemical weapons and drone strikes. What’s behind the action, and how is Germany aiding the onslaught?

Tom Krüger

August 14, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Two Turkish military members stand in front of a tank with the Turkish flag in the foreground and another tank with military members is visible in the background.

Since the beginning of the year, Turkey has been waging a dirty war against Kurdistan — one that is having a particularly strong impact on the civilian population, thanks to the targeting of civilian facilities with chemical weapons and drone strikes. 

The regime of Recep Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) is under pressure, currently in danger of losing its majority in next year’s elections. To secure its rule and divert attention from the country’s ever-worsening social crisis, the regime is trying to “prove” itself with some successes in the foreign policy arena.

Great Ottoman chauvinism is one of the strongest ideological scaffolds upon which the rule of Erdoğan and the AKP is built, which comes with it the racist devaluation of Kurds. Since the beginning of this year, one of the central aspects of Turkish foreign policy has been the expanded attacks on Kurdistan, all aimed at subjugating the Kurds and integrating the territory into Turkey.

The Turkish attacks are particularly brutal. Since January, not a single month has gone by without several drone attacks resulting in large numbers of dead and wounded. Strong resistance by Kurdish guerrillas has compelled Turkey to adopt a strategy aimed at wearing down the civilian population as a way to defeat the self-organization of the Kurdish people militarily and also break them psychologically over the long term.

The drone strikes aren’t all; Turkey is also using chemical weapons on a regular basis — which often settle in the ground and are still deadly when dust is whirled up much later. later. Many of these chemical warfare agents attack the nervous system and can cause severe disability and psychological damage. It’s notable in this context that Turkey is a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is centrally controlled by NATO — of which Turkey is also a member. Thus far, the OPCW has not investigated Turkey’s actions. Turkey is also cooperating with Russia by ensuring there are no obstacles to the latter’s war plans for the Kurdish self-governing region. 

Support for Turkey doesn’t only come in the form of NATO’s help in covering up Erdoğan’s use of poison gas. The country has long enjoyed a key political partnership with Germany, which is one of Turkey’s most important arms suppliers. In 2019, for example, a third of all German arms exports went to the Turkish military. But Turkey can also rely on Germany at the political level, with the German government continuing its massive repression against Kurdish activists reflected in, for example, the brutal enforcement of a ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the ban on publishers Mezopotamya and MIR Verlag, and regular extraditions of activists directly to Turkey. In the first five months of 2022 alone, 206 people were deported from Germany to Turkey, which puts this year on a pace for 490 such expulsions (compared to 361 last year). Angela Merkel paid lip service to criticizing the Turkish offensive in Kurdistan during her last visit to Turkey in October 2021, but there have been no long-term political consequences for the Erdoğan regime.

What political perspective should we adopt, given this war? It won’t come from working within bourgeois governments — especially not in imperialist Germany, which is strategically interdependent with Turkey. It is solidarity between the workers of Kurdistan, Turkey, and Germany that is required. In Germany, the central demands should be for an immediate halt to arms exports to Turkey and the lifting of the ban on the PKK. Central axes for activity in Germany should be demands for a halt to arms exports to Turkey and the lifting of the PKK ban. We can’t be timid, like the British trade unions that issued an open letter denouncing the Turkish war against Kurdistan, but within the framework of bourgeois pacifism. We have to expand international solidarity within Germany, confront the trade union bureaucracy that is collaborating with German imperialism, and bring the demands of a halt to arms exports and the lifting of the PKK ban to the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).

In this context, the striking dockworkers could play a key role in enforcing these demands. They have the capability to block arms exports to Turkey. In Hamburg, for instance, they have already launched an initiative to stop arms shipments and thus aid the Kurdish movement.

First published in German on August 11 in Klasse Gegen Klasse.

Translation by Scott Cooper

Facebook Twitter Share

Europe

King Charles III, sits on a throne with a crown on the seat next to him.

King Charles III Assumes the Throne by Firing over 100 Workers

King Charles III began his reign by announcing the firing of 100 workers from his previous residence. This comes amid complaints that people have been arrested for demonstrating against the monarchy.

Thatcherite Liz Truss Is Sworn in as UK Prime Minister

Amid an economic and political crisis, Conservative Liz Truss became the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday.

Ezra Brain

September 7, 2022

500 People Attend Trotskyist Summer Camp in France

Révolution Permanente, the sister site of Left Voice in France, held its first Summer University. Participants discussed building a new revolutionary organization in France.

Nathaniel Flakin

September 3, 2022
Striking port workers at Felixstowe wear red vests and hold flags for Unite union.

Strike at UK’s Largest Port for Higher Wages to Fight Inflation

On Sunday, August 21, dockworkers in Felixstowe — the largest container port in the United Kingdom — began eight days of strike action, demanding wage increases that truly fight inflation. They’re joining the wave of strikes in Britain during what has been called the “summer of discontent.”

MOST RECENT

Detroit protesters hold green banner that says "DTE" Affordable Renewable Energy Now

Detroiters Say ‘Hell No!’ to DTE’s Proposed Electricity Rate Hike

Detroiters are confronting regulators who are deciding whether private utilities can extract more profits from the working class during energy, inflation, housing, and climate crises.

Lee Palmer

September 20, 2022

Say Her Name! Protests Erupt across Iran after Police Murder of Mahsa Amini

Iran has erupted over the death of a young woman in police custody for "improperly" wearing the hijab. In the context of a deep economic and political crisis, Iranians are also questioning their deeply unpopular regime and its brutal oppression of women.

Maryam Alaniz

September 20, 2022
US President Joe Biden stands in a suit wearing a mask, but is taking off one side of it.

Despite What Biden Says, the Pandemic Isn’t Over

Joe Biden and the bourgeoisie may be ready for the pandemic to be over, but that doesn’t mean Covid-19 has gone away.

Olivia Wood

September 20, 2022
Image of the Capitol building in grey scale with a turquoise semi-transparent overlay towards the left and a white semi-transparent overlay to the bottom right of it, overlapping slightly.

Polarization, Economic Crisis, and Class Struggle: The Contradictions of the Political Moment

From the resurgence of the Democratic party to the advance of the Right to the potential of Generation U, it is evident that we are in a moment of instability and heightened polarization in the midst of a burgeoning economic crisis and rising labor movement. The Left must take the opportunities presented by the current moment and turn them into advances for our movement.

Ezra Brain

September 18, 2022