This short news item is a collection of breaking news from Turkey, reporting the recent developments about the Syrian conflict. Please check the Syria label for further analyses. Turkish references are given by an asterisk whereas English or nonverbal references are embedded in the text.
Taksim square, Istanbul. October 4th, 19:30
What’s happening in Turkey?
Months-lasting efforts of imperialism bore fruit. Practically in the night of October 3rdand formally in the morning of October 4th, Turkey declared war on Syria.
There were numerous peace demonstrations all around Turkey in the afternoon of October 4th. In Ankara, some one thousand protesters were attacked by the police with teargas and pressurized water.
In the Taksim Square, Istanbul, thousands of people gathered upon the call of socialist parties. The call was further supported by many groups including women’s movements, LGBT organizations and popular student movements. The main slogan of the demonstration was “We will not be the soldiers of imperialism. We will stop AKP’s war policies.”
The demonstrators stated that they do not want a “war government”. They argue that the recent Akçakale incident happened due to AKP’s war policy. As was highlightedby Patrick Cockburn in The Independent, the protesters also state that AKP “has become the chief instrument of American policy towards Syria in the past year.”
Facts and Non-facts
- On October 3rd, the bordering town Akçakale was hit by a shell coming from the Syrian side, killing 5 people.
- Contrary to the organized misinformation, it is not yet known whether a howitzer or a cannon shot the town.*While the Free Syrian Army (FSA) might also have howitzers, mass media declares it to be a cannon shell and therefore originating from the Syrian government forces. The question of creating an excuse for the invasion was addressed by an opposition parliamentarian, İlhan Cihaner.*
- The Syrian Information Ministry stated that they started an investigation on the source of the gunfire, sending their condolences to the family and friends of “the martyrs”.
- The US immediately condemned the incident. NATO declared that it clearly takes side with Turkey.*Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Syria to admit that it was an accident and to apologize, yet reminded that the Western countries did not condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Syria.*
- While the Turkish army stroke Syrian targets the whole night, the AKP government prepared a bill for the authorization of cross-border military action.
- The authorization is for one year and it authorized the Turkish army to be sent and assigned to “foreign countries”, not necessarily restricting the actions to Syria.*This caused controversies in the parliament.
- The parliamentary discussions were closed to media and public attendance. The government MP Nurettin Canikli asked to the opposition whether they are on Assad’s side or on Turkey’s side. The opposition MP Muharrem Ince responded “To hell with Assad” and added: “Are you on Turkey’s side or on Obama’s side?”
- Selahattin Demiraş from BDP, the most radical left-wing party in the parliament at the moment, commented that the Akçakale incident seemed like a hurriedly organized massacre to legitimize attacks on Syria.*
NOT MY WAR!
For a long time, the camps the Turkish government established for Syrian refugees were highly controversial. Especially ApaydınAccommodation Facilities near Antioch, where the militants of FSA are sheltered, raised public concern and heavy criticism. Parliamentarians and journalists were not allowed to visit the camp. It was claimed that Syrian rebels were working in collaboration with Turkey. This claim was later confirmed by a commander of FSA, who said they were receiving battle trainings on the Turkish border.
The locals from Samandağ have been disgruntled. Peace demonstrations in the region were oppressed by local authorities on the ground that they could not protect the demonstrators from FSA militants. It was further observed by the locals that the so-called Syrian dissenters included militants of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and the Muslim brotherhood. The locals also spotted another group called “The Soldiers of Damascus”, which is a hired army controlled by the Turkish government. They further reportedtheir concerns about blond, blue-eyed English-speaking men swarming around like inspectors.
As was observed in the last crisis in June when a Turkish aircraft was claimed to be shot down by Syria, the propaganda of the Turkish government did not suffice to form public consent for another war.
Yet the ruling class in Turkey has already made its mind to make Turkey an activeregional leader in the Middle East; the translation of which to our language is that Turkish government would play a leading role on behalf of imperialism, instead of being a passive country that just allowed soldiers pass its land, as it has been in the Iraq war. If this is what is meantby “development”; yes, Turkey has developed quite a lot.
Ege M. Diren