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Palestinians, Kurds and confusion

 

 

By Sarah Glynn

May 20, 2021  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Medya News — Two middle-eastern peoples are struggling for their survival against fascistic colonial powers. Both face selfish indifference as to their plight from the so-called “international community”, and both call out for international solidarity from ordinary folk around the world as the only force that can help shift the powers weighted against them. But solidarity between the two peoples themselves is mired in confusion. It is a confusion deliberately nurtured by the powers that oppress them, and cutting through the confusion is a vital part of the struggle for both the Kurds and the Palestinians.

A century of oppression: The Kurds and the Turkish state

 

 

By John Tully

April 20, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In recent weeks, the autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved to ban the pro-Kurdish left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and jailed the 14th member of the party’s 56-strong parliamentary caucus. Erdogan’s attack is the latest iteration of repressive, and at times genocidal, anti-Kurdish policies that go back to the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. The banning of the HDP will mark the transition of Turkey to outright dictatorship.

Not coincidentally, Turkey has also just quit the Istanbul Convention on violence against women — this, as the writer Elif Shafak warns “in a country where three women are killed daily and femicide is a huge crisis." The HDP’s strong pro-feminism contrasts starkly with Erdogan’s crude misogynism.

Turkey at the crossroads?

 

 

By Cihan Tuğal

April 20, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Left Review — Ten years ago, Erdoğan’s Turkey was hailed in Washington as an example to the Muslim world—a free-market, pro-American Islamic democracy with high growth rates, renowned cultural monuments and beautiful beaches. ‘A model partner’, Obama affirmed in 2009, as he congratulated the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).1 Today, with perhaps 50,000 oppositionists in jail, including scores of journalists, politicians, lawyers and civil servants, Turkey is exporting radical Islamist mercenaries from its Syrian enclaves to Libya and Azerbaijan, clashing with France, Greece, Israel and Cyprus over gas-drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and imposing a brutal occupation regime on swathes of what was once the autonomous Kurdish zone of Rojava. Predictably, the cry of ‘Who lost Turkey?’ has gone up within the American foreign-policy establishment, where the main concern is Ankara’s purchase of Russian missiles.2

Defending Rojava means defending Abdullah Öcalan

 

 

By Internationalist Commune

April 15, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Internationalist Commune — There are some days when we no longer see the sky with so many enemies around us. The apocalypse seems more likely than the end of capitalism and we are surrounded by patriarchal attacks – inside and outside of us. Sometimes I can no longer believe that we can make revolution – revolution what does that even mean? A different life? All this seems so far away, so abstract- really like a distant utopia. And in all this leftist depression, Rojava is like a huge beacon of hope. Rojava, that is a revolution in the 21st century. This is a revolution that combines so many struggles, so many ideas – a society that organizes itself, a society without state, a society based on gender liberation and ecology. An anti-fascist revolution against colonialism, against imperialism. Rojava is the proof that another life is possible – Rojava is a living utopia, a vision of how the world after capitalism could look like and how we can get there. Rojava is a perspective during a time full of attacks.

Öcalan’s Strategic Success on Imralı

 

 

Mahmut Şakar interviews Civaka Azad, attorney for Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan's attorney.

 

August 11, 2019 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English — On May 2, 2019, Öcalan’s lawyers had contact with their client for the first time since almost eight years. Another visit on the prison island of Imralı came to pass on May 22. Before these visits, altogether 810 requests for visit had been rejected since July 2010. With that, Öcalan holds the “European record” for confinement without access to any legal representation. The visits in May were won by a months-long hunger strike by activists and sympathizers of the Kurdish movement. The prohibition of visits that the defense team had been subjected too was lifted by a court on April 17, 2019. One month later, the Turkish Minister of Justice, Abdülhamit Gül announced that from then on, there would be no limitations for visits to Öcalan by his lawyers. In a joint declaration, Öcalan and his three fellow prisoners pointed to the urgent necessity of democratic negotiations for the solution of the conflicts in Turkey and the Middle East. The problems and wars in the region ought to be addressed not by violence, but by the “methods of democratic negotiations, beyond any polarization and culture of conflict,” Öcalan and his fellow prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar and Veysel Aktaş demanded.

 

Create two,three, many Rojava revolutions!

 

 

By Peter Boyle

 

December 10, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Hawzhin Azeez: Reflections of a Kurdish Feminist — Solidarity is a core value of the Socialist Alliance. Wherever we see people fighting tyranny or oppression our response is one of solidarity. Many of our founding members, including myself, had come to our socialist convictions when we were part of the powerful solidarity movement for the Vietnamese struggle against US imperialism.”

 

So when people started rising in the Middle East in the so-called “Arab Spring” revolts we jumped into solidarity action once again. Knee-jerk  solidarity with the oppressed, you could say. We were in the streets with the Egyptian community when it took to the streets around Australia and when the people in Syria rose up we helped organise one of the first solidarity actions in Sydney.

 

Revolutionary Rojava: An polyethnic, feminist and anti-capitalist experiment

 

 

By Rachel Evans

 

October 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal As Syria enters its eighth year of civil war, the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, must be held to account for its role in the killing of 500,000 people. In a bloodbath that has reaped unspeakable horrors, more than 5 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country, with a further 6 million internally displaced. The barbaric Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), grew out of this chaos and at one point controlled a third of Syria. Amid this savagery, however, a beacon of hope emerged in north-eastern Syria in 2012 – the polyethnic liberated zone of Rojava (Western Kurdistan).

 

Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly councillor: 'We have organized our own life with great hope'

 

 

By Bêrîtan Sarya & Axin Tolhildan

 

July 12, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF NewsEmel Dede is a representative of the Turkmen people in the Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly Council.

 

She said that the whole society has the right to work for, take part and to be represented in the autonomous administration. 

 

Turkey: After Afrîn, the Ottoman dreaming of Sultan Erdoğan

 

 

By John Tully

 

May 9, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tasmanian Times  — On March 18, Turkish troops supported by a 10,000-strong horde of Islamist militiamen stormed into the city of Afrîn in northern Syria. After an unequal eight-week struggle against the Middle East’s most powerful military force, the city’s lightly armed Kurdish defenders had little choice but to melt away and fight another day.

 

The city’s fall was inevitable. Afrîn is isolated from Kobanê and Jazira, the other predominantly Kurdish cantons to the east, and the Kurds had gambled unsuccessfully on international support against the illegal invasion. This was not unreasonable. The invasion was patently illegal, and the world also owes the Syrian Kurds a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices in ridding it of the cancer of ISIS.

 

Sadly, almost all of the world’s governments turned a blind eye to the aggression. Some of them directly or indirectly aided the Turkish aggressor.

 

The Kurdish movement for radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State
By Meredith Tax
Bellevue Literary Press
New York 2016

 

April 3, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Meredith Tax saw pictures of gun-toting Kurdish women defending the northern Syrian town of Kobane against Daesh (so-called "Islamic State") in 2014, she was inspired to find out more. This book is the eventual outcome of her research.

 

The female fighters of the YPJ (Women's Protection Units) are part of a movement aimed at radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East. Tax explores the history of this movement in the context of the history of the Kurdish people.

 

Amedspor: resistance is everywhere

 

 

By Steve Sweeney

 

February 8, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The RegionAmedspor football club was little known outside of Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora until its captain and star player Deniz Naki was shot at on a German autobahn in January 2018.

 

Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’. The irony could not be more obvious.

 

Syria: Solidarity with Afrin, al-Ghouta, Idlib against all military attacks

 

 

By Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

 

January 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists Since January 20, 2018, Turkish military assisted by pro-Turkish Syrian opposition militia groups have launched a large scale air and ground offensive, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" on Afrin province located in northwest Syria with a Kurdish majority population and controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG). At least 30 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the operation.

 

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

 

 

By Ercan Ayboga

 

December 4, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English — How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava?

 

Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s Defense Units (YPG/YPJ) defended Kobanî, nowadays the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes ten thousand non-Kurds in its ranks, have liberated Raqqa, the de facto IS capital and the eastern parts of the Deir Ez-Zor province. Many leftist and progressive organizations and movements around the world have discussed and were divided about this military cooperation due to the historically contradictory ideological positions of the two forces. On the one hand there are those including some within the Kurdish solidarity organisations, who voiced concerns that the revolution of Rojava could lose its emancipative-liberating value and independent stance. On the other hand, critics think that the SDF is already instrumentalized by the US and has betrayed the revolution.

 

Anti-imperialists must understand the relationship between the Syrian Democratic Forces and US

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

December 2, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — On October 17, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Raqqa from the reactionary forces of the Islamic State after the so-called ‘Great Battle’ in which over 600 of their comrades lost their lives. The freeing of the city from the region’s most brutal fascistic group was a great moment of jubilation for the forces of the SDF, both in its Arab militias and the predominately Kurdish-forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

 

Understanding Abdullah Ocalan

 

 

The Political Thought of Abdullah Ocalan: Kurdistan, Woman's Revolution and Democratic Confederalism
Pluto Press 2017

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

 

November 19, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Abdullah Ocalan has been held in a Turkish prison on Imrali Island since 1998. For most of that time he has been kept in solitary confinement. Access to lawyers and family members has been limited and sometimes cut off altogether for long periods. At the time of writing, access to Ocalan is completely blocked, with no contact whatsoever since September 2016.

 

Ocalan is considered the leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). His isolation means that he cannot participate in the party's day-to-day decision making, but his ideas are taken as the basis for the political strategy of the PKK in Turkey and similar groups in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

 

Despite the difficult conditions of prison life, Ocalan has written extensively while in prison. This book's four chapters are articles by Ocalan written at different times.

 

The first chapter, “War and Peace in Kurdistan”, begins with a brief history of the Kurdish people from prehistoric times to the present day.

 

July 19 Revolution: a start towards a federal, democratic Syria

 

 

By Noursham Ibrahim

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cooperative Economy The July 19th Revolution, whose spark started in Kobanî [Kobanê / Ayn al-Arab] in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories on the military, political, and social levels during the last five years ─ achieving unique progress in leading the community towards democracy and federalism, perceived by observers as the best solution not only for Syria, but also for the stalemate in the communities of the Middle East.

 

‘No racism here’: Modern Turkey and the question of race and national identity

 

 

Fenerbahçe fans pointing bananas to Galatasaray players, 
Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue

 

By Bulent Gokay[1] and Darrell Whitman[2]

 

ABSTRACT: Many in Turkey, including its political leaders, don’t accept there is racism in Turkey. They will say they are proud of their traditional hospitality and generosity towards foreigners. Similarly, academic accounts also generally assume Turkish nationalism is neither ethnic nor cultural nationalism, but rather an inclusive civic nationalism. We directly challenge this conviction by arguing there is a dark side of Turkish nationalism, based on clear evidence there is an ethnic and racial discourse that shaped Turkish nationalism from the early years of the republic, and that this discourse plays a significant role in defining modern 21st Century Turkish nationalism. Thus, this modern Turkish nationalism includes, rather than excludes, an ethnic and racially defined narrative, which is a central tenet in defining modern Turkish identity.

 

The freedom to say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin

 
 

Introductory note by LeftEast editors

 

March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.

Fake news about the Rojava revolution

 
 

By Nick Fredman

 

March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

 

I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.

 

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