The peoples of Turkey and the Middle East long for peace. Once again, this longing is under threat from bombings and invasion. Afrin, a town of hundreds of thousands of people, is suffering war and destruction caused by the Turkish Armed Forces. Binali Yıldırım, the current prime minister, declared, “the name of the operation is Olive Branch. It is an operation that aims to bring peace, serenity and tranquility”.
Contrary to what this war declaration promises, it is a well-known fact that the history of the region is marked with the death, conflict, poverty and deprivation, all brought about by the F-16s, leopard-armoured tanks and military troops.
Tayyip Erdoğan, the president, is trying to prepare the society for a long-term war, evident in his statement “Afrin operation will be ensued by Manbij operation”. Binali Yıldırım is trying to legitimize the intervention arguing that the military tanks “will rescue the people from oppression”. TV stations, joining the choir, are making all the effort they can to convince people to the propaganda that the military operation is being undertaken “to protect the territorial integrity of Syria”.
The truth is that Turkey’s “national coalition” has chosen to deal with the deepening instability at home and abroad through the methods of war and conflict. In fact, the policies of the government and its nationalist allies, designed to defend the interests of the Turkish state, will only cause further instability and pave the way for further crises.
The war against Afrin managed to get all the political segments which prioritize the state survival as the most significant item on their nationalistic agenda to line up behind the “national coalition” formed primarily by the AKP (The Justice and Development Party in power) and the MHP (The National Movement Party, the fascist party which is not officially in power but practically in an ideological joint venture with the AKP).
In fact, at a time when only recently a worker set fire to himself in public to draw attention to his poverty, the problem for people in Turkey is to make ends meet, not the continuity of the state. We need and demand a life not of oppression but peace-of-mind, a life not of war but peace, a life where workers do not have to live below the poverty line.
The war on Afrin must be ended now. Declarations of “Afrin today, Manbij tomorrow,” aimed at extending the war, must be ended now. The policy of peace negotiations that until a few years ago gave hope and great expectations to everyone must be resumed. Not only the US and Russia, but all regional powers too must end their military presence in Syria.
Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party of Turkey