Mortar fire on the Turkish-Syria border — likely a provocation by Syrian rebels or at most an accident — has already exacerbated the crisis caused by the reactionary armed rebellion inside Syria. This event has awakened strong anti-government reaction inside Turkey. It also threatens a NATO-backed Turkish invasion of Syria and a wider war in the region.
The incident setting off these events was mortar fire from Syrian territory that landed in the Turkish border town of Akçakale on Oct. 3, killing five Turkish citizens. A flurry of super-patriotic bluster from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan accompanied heavy Turkish artillery fire that killed Syrian troops. The Syrian government regretted the deaths, promised an investigation and said it would not happen again.
German state TV ZDF’s first report was that Syrian rebels had fired the grenades and took responsibility for them. (See article by R. Teichmann at globalresearch.ca.) This scenario was gradually altered until all the corporate media and NATO regimes blamed the Syrian army for launching the mortars.
NATO-member Turkey seized upon this suspicious pretext to begin daily artillery fire on Syrian army units close to the Turkish border. The U.S., German and NATO command backed Turkey’s actions, charging the Syrian government — without evidence — with “a flagrant breach of international law.”
Whipped up by militarist chauvinism, the Turkish Parliament voted by about 3 to 1 to authorize Turkey’s army to take whatever measures it sees fit against Syria — much as the U.S. Congress backed President Lyndon Johnson’s Bay of Tonkin Resolution, which was the pretext for invading Vietnam in 1964.
Turkish people oppose new war
Turkey’s population, which has opposed the government’s role in arming the Syrian opposition and allowing them to stage attacks from bases in Turkey, immediately came out to protest the new war threats.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, and in Istanbul on Oct. 4, according to a report in the British Telegraph. The demonstrators “chanted slogans against the war and carried banners against the ruling AK Party. … The Turkish slogan ‘savasa havir’ (‘no to war’) was the top trending item on Turkey’s Twitter.”
The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) took a strong position the next day against the decision in Parliament. Here are some excerpts:
“The AKP Government is doing its best to lead our country into a war. AKP is primarily responsible for shooting of our town, Akçakale, and thus for the death of five innocent citizens.
“AKP, which feeds, protects and organizes reactionary gangs which carry out armed attacks on Syria, is keeping on planting the seeds of hostility between our country and Syria for the sake of regional plans of imperialism.
“Imperialism must be kicked out of the region. Turkey must immediately abandon supporting the reactionary armed gangs, and the camps, which have turned into warfare headquarters, must immediately be abolished.”
While anti-war sentiment inside Turkey grows, the continued attacks have an immediate impact on the struggle inside Syria, whose army has pulled back 10 miles from the border to avoid new incidents. This “buffer zone” creates the potential for a staging area for the Syrian armed opposition — which contains many non-Syrian fighters whose ideology threatens people of many different religious beliefs inside Syria.
IAC warns of wider war
From inside the U.S., the International Action Center released on Oct. 5 a statement, commenting that “this latest aggression by NATO-backed Turkey can be the opening move to direct military intervention from the imperialist powers. This is something that NATO is looking for. The imperialists have fomented, armed and financed the armed insurgency in Syria.”
The IAC writes that despite all the deaths and destruction, the anti-Syria insurgency has begun to stall. The statement notes that even the Oct. 4 New York Times reports that almost no Syrian forces are defecting any longer, and that the opposition of Russia and China has prevented the U.N. Security Council from authorizing aggression against Syria.
“The lesson of this latest event for the anti-war movement and the people of the U.S. is clear,” says the IAC. “Stay alert!” for new lies and new aggression from the imperialist powers in NATO.