Over the night of 3rd November the Turkish state moved to deepen the repression directed against the HDP, the party that got the 3rd largest share of the vote in the last two elections. Arrest warrants have been issued for at least 15 of that parties members of parliament including it’s two co-chairs. At the same time the state moved to shut down social media in the country with access to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and WhatsApp being blocked.
A little over ten hours ago (24th August) Turkish tanks crossed the Syrian border to supposedly attack ISIS. For the last couple of years Turkish troops and ISIS militants have been exchanging hand waves across the border as month by month hundreds of ISIS recruits have been allowed to cross it.
People gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Dublin last night to take part in a solidarity protest of remembrance for the 100 plus people killed in the bombing of a peace rally in Ankara on Saturday.
Graffiti has appeared at the site of the bomb explosion in Ankara yesterday (10th October 2015) that reads "It was not terror that killed us, it was the state." This is reflecting the widespread belief that the true origins of the bombing that killed around 100 people at the pro Kurdish peace demonstration are to be found in Erdogan's AKP party desperate attempt to intensify conflict in the hope of polarizing the electorate ahead of Novembers elections. The same process in other words that those killed yesterday were demonstrating against.
The cartoon on the left is from a few months ago but expresses how Kurds saw the role of the Turkish state towards ISIS and the conflict in Syria. Considerable evidence of support for ISIS from the Turkish state has been published in the international media over the last months. An ISIS commander told the Washington Post on August 12, 2014, "We used to have some fighters -- even high-level members of the Islamic State -- getting treated in Turkish hospitals."
This Sunday the Observer revealed details of a US Special forces raid on an ISIS compound. “One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now “undeniable”.” Oil smuggling was what that ISIS leader was co-ordinating with the Turkish officials and ISIS were getting an “estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenue”
Dublin protested last night against ISIS and the support it has received to date from the Turkish state. The protest was called by Lookleft in the aftermath of the Suruc bombing. 32 humanitarian volunteers on the way to help in the rebuilding of Kobane were killed in the bombing, at least 2 anarchists were amongst those killed.
The bomb went off on Monday at a community centre in Suruç a small mostly Kurdish town just across the border in the Turkish state. The Amara Culture Centre which was where 300 people on a Federation of Socialist Youth Associations stayed on their way to Kobane. 32 of them were killed by the bomb including at least two anarchists and over 100 injured, some critically.
Turkey goes to the polls June 7th and for the first time it looks like a radical left party, the HDP may get enough votes to claim seats in parliament. In the last couple of weeks of the campaign at least two HDP officers have been bombed, the driver of a HDP election vehicle was shot dead and unknown numbers of its activists have been arrested by the Turkish state.
Why is the Turkish state and the ruling AKP party so threatened by the HDP? The HDP presents itself as anti-capitalist and aspires to end religious, gender and racial discrimination. It has a 50% quota for women and a 10% quota for the LGBT community when fielding candidates. It's an expression of the movement coming out of Gezi park but also of the new ideology of the PKK and despite the peace process any manifestation related to the PKK continues to be repressed by the Turkish state.
“Ed, that’s soldier’s headed our way, we’re gonna have to move”. Sure enough the soldier is trudging down the road towards us, unshouldering his rifle and looking, even from this distance, distinctly narked. Ed doesn’t directly acknowledge my warning, except with a barely discernible movement of the head, focussed as he is on his camera shot. He knows I know that he’s heard me and he knows that as I haven’t yet added the “...now!” intensifier, that he has a few more precious seconds to finish the shot, as the camera pans over the ruins of Eastern Kobane against the backdrop of Mishtenur Hill. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon of Thursday 19 March on the Turkish side of the border with Syria and Kobane.
On my first night in Istanbul I got tear gassed and then had an encounter with a secret police man. Lacking time to write it up properly here instead is my side of Facebook chats with a couple of friends back in Ireland after I'd got back to my hotel that evening and was discussing what happened with them. I've got into the habit of writing up encounters with the secret police - see for instance 'I still remember the First Time' and 'A Shell to Sea Jailing and a run in with the Secret Police'.
I booked a short trip to Istanbul at the start of June because of a growing interest in the Ottoman Empire. Just after I booked the flight the cops launched the massive tear gas attack on Gezi park and so my holiday became a lot more activist than I intended including getting gassed on the first night and having an encounter with a secret policeman.