Erdogan regime opened door for massacre in Ankara

by John Catalinotto

Unions in Diyarbakir, Turkey, hold general strike and march one day after Oct. 11 massacre.

Unions in Diyarbakir, Turkey, hold general strike and march one day after Oct. 11 massacre.

Oct. 12 — No matter who set off the bombs in Ankara on Oct. 10, the Turkish regime led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is responsible for the explosions that killed more than 128 peace demonstrators and wounded hundreds more in the country’s capital. That is the view of leaders of the leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and other observers.

The two explosions, apparently set off by suicide bombers, went off as tens of thousands of people had gathered for a march, called by the HDP, youth groups and unions. The marchers were demanding that the Erdogan regime conclude a cease-fire and make peace with the guerrilla forces from the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK). The PKK itself had just declared it would honor a cease-fire if the regime also refrained from attacks.

Demonstrations and marches mourning the dead and vowing to continue the fight have already taken place across Turkey and in many European cities, especially where there are Kurdish immigrants. The DISK and KESK labor union coalitions called for a general strike on Oct. 12 and 13. The target is the regime.

The first reaction of the Turkish police reinforced the argument that the regime was responsible. Just after the explosions, police launched an attack with water cannon, tear gas and clubs on demonstrators who were trying to aid those wounded by the bombs.

HDP and other left spokespeople also accuse the Turkish political police — who are ubiquitous and claim to know every detail of political events inside Turkey — of knowing about this planned bombing and allowing it to happen.

Erdogan’s Justice Party (AKP) government has conducted a long-range strategy with the goal — shared with and encouraged by U.S. imperialism — of overthrowing the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria and establishing a Turkish client state there. To do this, the AKP regime has worked closely, if quietly, with anti-Assad groups similar to al-Qaida and those now known as the Islamic State group.

Besides the Syrian army and Hezbollah from Lebanon, the most effective anti-Islamic State fighters in Syria have been from the PKK and the PKK’s sister organization in the Kurdish regions of north and northeast Syria.

Ankara regime aided Islamic State group

Since the AKP and the Turkish military consider the Kurds to be the biggest threat to Turkish nationalism, they have sided with the Islamic State group against the Kurdish fighters. The Islamic State group and others have been able to move in and out of Turkey, resupplying and resting their fighters. As some HDP spokespeople have said, this strategy has led to “bringing the Syrian war inside Turkey.” (Democracy Now!, Oct. 12)

Following the bombing, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu from the AKP made a 20-minute talk accusing the PKK and revolutionary Turkish groups essentially of bombing themselves; he mentioned the Islamic State group for only a minute.

Recent electoral struggles have also made the Erdogan regime focus its attacks on the HDP as well as on the PKK and Kurds in general. Erdogan had schemed before last June’s national election for his ruling Justice Party to increase its majority to 60 percent of the seats in Parliament. This would allow him to change the Turkish Constitution and consolidate his rule by strongly increasing presidential powers.

Instead, the AKP lost 71 seats, winning only a minority — 258 — of the 550 seats. The new leftist/Kurdish coalition party, the HDP, won a surprising 79 seats. By sowing turmoil, the AKP, still the biggest party in parliament, hopes to disrupt the HDP campaign and intimidate the women, workers and youth who voted for HDP.

From its overall strategy against Syria and its narrower focus on the November elections, the AKP as well as the Turkish state — military and army — can logically be held responsible for the massacre of the demonstrators. This is true even if Islamic State suicide bombers carried it out.

U.S. imperialism also shares responsibility because of its decades-long strategy in the West Asian region of sowing religious and civil war in order to weaken any sovereign states. Washington has done this even though it resulted in creating and strengthening the Islamic State group and related forces that are incompatible with establishing a stable puppet regime. While this strategy has brought no clear victory for imperialism, it has created havoc and misery for the people there.


U.S. Wars Caused Refugee Crisis

by Sara Flounders

U.S. wars, starvation sanctions and planned destabilization are the overwhelming cause of the surge of hundreds of thousands of war refugees flooding across European borders and across the Mediterranean Sea. The major European-NATO powers collaborated with U.S. imperialism in each war.

The corporate media are publishing painful pictures of drowned children, sinking boats, news stories of suffocating trucks and reports of thousands camped in train stations and along roadways. They rob these reports of context by omitting the cause of the refugee crisis. Some people fear the  enormous media coverage could even be cynical preparation to justify a new military offensive by NATO countries against Syria.

U.S. aircraft bombing Libya.

The real dimensions of the humanitarian disaster are largely hidden. The 340,000 destitute refugees who have reached Europe constitute only 3 percent of the over 10 million displaced people barely surviving in refugee camps in Syria or in countries bordering Syria. These neighboring countries are also destabilized by the surge of refugees and disruptive sanctions against Syria that ripple throughout the region.

The European governments dismissed the war-caused havoc as long as the crisis was kept off their doorstep.

The refugees’ dire conditions worsened because the meager United Nations Food Program has exhausted its funds and is now cutting hundreds of thousands of refugees off its aid in U.N. administered refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The U.N. agency needed a mere $236 million to keep the program funded through November.

According to, the U.S. government has spent that much on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria every 28 hours since 2001.

The largest numbers of refugees are fleeing from war-torn Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and South Sudan. U.S. corporate power, driven by its  insatiable drive to secure control of valuable resources and push back progressive change, had targeted each of these countries. Not one of these wars was for humanitarian purposes. Each war is a source of enormous super profit in military contracts for U.S. and European Union corporations … and ruin for millions of people.

Washington’s strategy in each of these imperialist wars has been to enflame sectarian, ethnic, national and religious differences. This means organizing contending militias, pitting group against group to break down national pride and unified resistance. Divide and conquer is the strategy that dates back to the U.S. wars against Indigenous peoples on the North American continent.

The Pentagon cynically targets civilian infrastructure, including electric grids, fuel depots, irrigation, water purification, sanitation, local industries and especially schools in an effort to demoralize and disorient the population. Washington arms and empowers the most reactionary forces and corrupt warlords as collaborators.

Refugees of current U.S. wars

Syria today has the highest number of people displaced by war. U.S. sanctions as of 2010 were followed in 2011 by U.S./NATO and Saudi arming and financing of mercenary forces. This war has destroyed a formerly prosperous country where the population had modern infrastructure, quality free health care and free education.

Now almost half of Syria’s 23 million population is displaced. More than 4 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. Mercenary and fanatic sectarian forces within Syria now number about 125,000 in a thousand competing bands from 80 or more countries.

The U.S. war in Iraq from 1990 to 2003 included massive, systematic destruction of infrastructure and 13 years of economic sanctions. The 2003 U.S.-British invasion and occupation of Iraq brought catastrophic ruin and orchestrated sectarian violence unknown in Iraqi history. Refugees and internally displaced people reached 4.7 million people. Almost half of the Iraqi refugees received shelter in overburdened Syria.

Since the 1978 Saur Revolution, which overthrew the monarchy in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has provided more than $3 billion to counterrevolutionary and warlord forces to destroy the revolution. For three decades, war-torn Afghanistan led in the U.N. lists in the number of war refugees. Through the 1980s, there were 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and 2 million in Iran.

The 2001 U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan created new waves of refugees. There are currently 1.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and 1 million Afghan refugees in Iran and millions of displaced people within Afghanistan itself.

In Libya, seven months of U.S./NATO bombing in 2010 destroyed the entire infrastructure of a modern state where nationalized oil helped achieve the highest standard of living in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of workers throughout Africa had found jobs in Libya, which had also provided economic development aid throughout Africa.

In appealing for assistance, Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki explained that two million Libyans, or one third of Libya’s pre-NATO-intervention population, have taken refuge in Tunisia. The number is equivalent to one fifth of Tunisia’s population.

Today, South Sudan has the largest number of refugees in Africa. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency, there are 2.25 million refugees and spiraling civil war in this oil-rich country. As the Jan. 3, 2014, New York Times explained, South Sudan is in many ways a U.S. “creation, carved out of war-torn Sudan in a referendum largely orchestrated by the United States, its fragile institutions nurtured with billions of dollars in American aid.”

More than 2 million refugees in Ukraine represent the newest refugee crisis, caused by the expansion of the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance to the borders of Russia. While Washington fails to provide funds to feed refugees from U.S. wars of aggression, the U.S. government spent $5 billion to fund the fascist forces and social networks that overturned the elected government in Ukraine. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland even bragged of this funding. The Kiev coup government is now waging war against anti-fascists in east Ukraine.

According to Russian Federal Migration Service-FMS statistics, a total of 2.6 million Ukrainians are currently in Russian territory. Some 1 million are from Ukraine’s southeastern regions, fleeing armed conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Past waves of U.S. war refugees

U.S. wars in Southeast Asia ripped Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos apart in the 1960s and 1970s. The effort to dominate the region failed but the massive destruction left 4 million dead, millions maimed and 2 million Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees desperate for resettlement.

Funding militias, warlords and drug lords was U.S. policy in Central America in the 1980s. The U.N. estimated that one-third of the workforce of El Salvador fled the country in the 1980s. More than a half million reached the U.S.

The war to expand NATO and dismember Yugoslavia, in Bosnia in 1995 and in Serbia in 1999, again used destruction of civilian infrastructure and enflaming sectarian differences.According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, 3.7 to 4 million people were displaced and became refugees.

It should not be forgotten that it is more than 60 years of U.S. funding and equipping of Israel that enabled the expropriation of hundreds of thousands of people from Palestine, the longest and most protracted refugee problem in the world. BADIL, a research and advocacy center focusing on refugee rights, estimates that there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees and displaced persons. This figure includes the 4.2 million Palestinians registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other Palestinians displaced in 1967 and still displaced internally in Israel.

While billions of dollars continues to be allocated for war preparation, the World Food Program cut 1 million Iraqi refugees and millions of Syrian refugees from receiving $14 monthly food coupons. This confirms in the most violent terms that capitalist rulers are incapable of solving the humanitarian disaster that they have created. War preparation is profitable. Distributions of surplus food are not.

Article originally published in Workers World