Turkey

The forces of ISIS are closing in on the besieged town of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border. Thousands of terrified Kurds have fled to Turkey in a desperate attempt to bring supplies and reinforcements, but find themselves blocked by the Turkish army, which is preventing reinforcements, arms and supplies from crossing the frontier. While the rest of the world looks on, the people of Kobane are threatened with an unspeakable bloodbath.

The struggle of the Kurdish forces of the YPG and YPJ that have been defending the town of Kobane against the onslaught of ISIS forces that outnumber and outgun them, has been nothing short of heroic. The fight for Kobane has been raging for more than three weeks and has intensified in the last few days as the Kurdish forces had to withdraw back into the centre of Kobane from their defensive positions outside the town. Reports are now coming in of intense urban fighting as the YPG and YPJ are resisting the advances of ISIS street by street.

Two days of clashes and street barricades followed the brutal police effort to clear Taksim Square and Gezi park of protesters, ahead of Erdogan's show of strength with mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul. Five different trade union and professional bodies called a one day protest strike today, June 17.

After the Istanbul regional governor announced that there would be no attack on the protestors at Gezi Park and Taksim Square, the police marched into Taksim under the pretext of “cleaning” the square. Allegedly, they wanted to “clear” the square of barricades and forbidden flags and symbols like the PKK or Kurdistan flag and banners with Abdullah Ocalan on them.

Early this morning, when most of the protestors were asleep in their tents, riot police armed with rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas stormed Taksim Square in Istanbul. This attack is part of a co-ordinated string of measures being pursued by the Erdogan government in an attempt to crush the mass movement of Turkish people that has been developing over the past two weeks.

“Papa Tayyip”, as Erdogan’s supporters call him, returned in the early hours of Friday from his visit to the Maghreb. His hiding in Morocco had to end. His party, the AKP, had declared several times that it would not organize a welcome rally for its president, although up 10,000 supporters (according to some estimates) did gather on Thursday evening. “Chemical Tayyip”, as he is referred to by the tear gassed demonstrators, however, met not only his supporters, but also even bigger protests in the country than when he left, despite his claims that everything would end quickly, as the protestors were only “marginal elements” and “marauders”. Wrong he was indeed!

These are a series of accounts we have received from Izmir. While we do not necessarily share all of the conclusions, we think they reflect very well the mood of the movement.

The magnificent movement of the workers and youth of Turkey is an inspiration to the whole world. What began as a peaceful protest against the cutting down of trees in a park to pave the way for the construction of a shopping mall has turned into a tidal wave of mass protests against the vicious and reactionary Erdogan regime, which has acquired insurrectionary dimensions.

What started as a small scale protest against the destruction of Gezi Park that stands next to Taksim Square in Istanbul has now developed into a nationwide movement demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Erdogan, of the AK Party.

I am sure that the fund managers in the City of London or New York’s Manhattan or Frankfurt’s financial distrcit are very surprised. They may even be shocked. I am quite sure that many fund managers and bankers who have helped Erdogan's government stay in power for so many years by channelling their hot money to Istanbul’s stock market are now calling their brokers in İItanbul. 

In 1977 around 34 people were killed in Istanbul’s Taksim Square when snipers opened fire on the unarmed May Day rally. And between 1978 and last year May Day rallies were banned from being held there. That changed last year when for the first time after 33 years workers once more were able to gather in Taksim Square. Following on from last year’s lifting of the ban, this year’s May Day rally was the largest at Taksim Square since 1977.

We have received the following statement about the harassment of socialists in Turkey. We are publishing it as an elementary duty of internationalist solidarity.