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Statement of the Initiative for the Revolutionary Workers' Party (DİP)

Not enough to abandon the panel at Davos-what matters is to end the alliance with Zionism!

The Initiative for the Revolutionary Workers' Party considers fully warranted the response by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan to the attitude of Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, and David Ignatius, US journalist and moderator of the panel discussion. It was correct to criticise sharply Peres' manner of speaking, to respond in kind to the moderator, who kept patting the prime minister of a foreign country on the shoulder, displaying the arrogance of a person close to the establishment circles of an imperialist country, to remind him of the unfair allotment of time to the different speakers, thereby privileging Peres, and in the end to abandon the panel. Those who criticise Erdoğan for using the bullying style he resorts to back home are thereby promoting the idea that he should have acted meekly when confronted with such effrontery from imperialists and Zionists. They have thus also been admitted that they cannot defend the idea of equality among nations even for their own people, let alone for those nations whom they oppress. Erdoğan's behaviour is so abominable domestically because he unjustly attacks oppressed people. It is exactly for the symmetric reason why his behaviour at Davos is to be commended. There is no basis for comparing the two, as Erdoğan is the oppressor in the domestic cases while he represents the underdog in the Davos case. Erdoğan has displayed a more honourable attitude vis-à-vis the representatives of imperialism and Zionism than his detractors.

But all of this was confined to the duration of a panel discussion. As soon as he left the hall where the panel discussion was held, he changed his attitude to Israel. The fact that his press conference was based on a text formulated with carefully selected phrases was the first sign that he had returned to the diplomatic track. The fact that, in this statement, he asserted that his rage was directed against the moderator showed clearly that he was already trying to mend fences with Israel. The reaction shown to Peres had, thereby, evaporated once he was out of the hall. And during the telephone conversation he had with Peres a bit later, it was not only Peres but also Erdoğan who adopted a conciliatory tone.

Even of greater importance is the policy adopted by the Erdoğan government toward Israel. It is true that the condemnation of the crimes committed by Israel since the war on Gaza started on 27 December 2008 was a constant in the policy pursued by this government. In this sense, the row that erupted at Davos was only the high point of previously existing tension. However, while on the one hand the Erdoğan government was condemning the assault waged by the Israeli government on the civilian people of Gaza, on the other hand it played the diplomatic game of Israel, the aggressor in this unjust war. The ultimate goal of the war was to bring about regime change by toppling Hamas. For the short run, Israel aimed at preventing the smuggling of arms for Hamas through the underground tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. Hence, it was one of the major objectives of the war to disarm Hamas. By proposing that the United Nations place a force of observers at the borders of Gaza, the Turkish government was thereby providing support for Israel's aims, whatever the tenor of the statements by the prime minister. Moreover, by skirting the idea (Washington Post, 31 January 2009) that Turkey should take part in this observer force, Erdoğan was thereby asserting that he was ready to serve as the overseer of Israel's disarming of Hamas.

In effect, all this is the result of the fact that, while protesting the atrocities committed by Israel, the AKP government has, throughout the years, continued to pursue the policies of previous Turkish governments. Starting with the 1980s, Turkey has entered strategic relations with the state of Israel, the big impetus being provided by the military agreements of the 1990s (signed ironically under Erbakan, the historic leader of Turkey's Islamist movement!). It is this policy that the Erdoğan government has embraced lock, stock and barrel. Here lies its capital crime. And now, unless it revamps this orientation after all that he has said during the last month and a half and in the aftermath of his theatrics at Davos, his words will remain what they are-empty words used for electoral purposes (as local elections will be held in two months' time).

Erdoğan claims that Gaza has been converted into an "outdoor prison". If that is the case, then let him take concrete steps to change this situation. Let him withdraw his ambassador to Israel, declare the Israeli ambassador to Ankara persona non grata, and immediately terminate all military contracts placed with Israel! Erdoğan stresses that during the war Israel killed 1300 Palestinians, most of them children, non-combatant women and the elderly and injured another 6000. Then let him cancel the order that has been placed by Turkey for the Herons, the unmanned planes used to bomb the people of Gaza, and thus stop assisting the financing of these death machines of Israel! Addressing Peres at the end of the panel discussion, Erdoğan said, "You know very well how to kill. I know how you killed children on the beach". Let him cancel all the bilateral agreements with Israel, not forgetting that the pilots who killed those children receive their training flying over the vast Konya plain in central Anatolia! The whole world knows that the US is the major benefactor of Israel. At Davos, Erdoğan made an appeal to Obama on behalf of the people of Gaza. The very same Obama who did not open his mouth for the first ten days of the war on Gaza and who, when he did, enounced platitudes! Joseph Biden, Obama's vice-president, is a loyal friend of Israel and Emmanuel Rahm, the White House chief-of-staff, a long-time Zionist himself! He who dares not upset his relations with the US should not challenge Zionist Israel! If Erdoğan wants to be consistent with his words, then let him pass to deeds! Or else his words will be just words and nothing else.

Those who dispute Erdoğan's attitude at Davos have thereby laid bare the hypocrisy of the so-called "nationalist" camp and revealed who the real friends of Zionism in Turkey are. The Turkish armed forces (TSK) have declared, "national interest comes before all else" and insisted that the Heron deal be preserved, thus making it clear that the military are the defenders of the status quo in Turkish-Israeli relations. Deniz Baykal, the leader of the self-styled "social democratic" People's Republican Party, remained speechless for 72 hours! The expert of the party in foreign affairs, Onur Öymen, also the vice-chairman, had the rashness to say "Erdoğan has been struck out by the civilised world", basing himself on the alleged support extended by Erdoğan to Hamas. That the People's Republican Party and, more generally, the pro-Western, secular wing of the bourgeoisie reduce the "civilised world" to imperialism, which, incidentally, looked on as hundreds were being murdered in Gaza, is obvious! The real friends of Zionism, more loyal to it than Erdoğan, and the real flock of imperialism are the so-called "nationalist" forces posturing as anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist! A small minority among these may have a different stance, but they themselves have become the stooges of the pro-imperialist forces of the pro-Western, secular camp of the bourgeoisie.

The Revolutionary Workers' Party resolutely stands by the people of Palestine and defends its freedom, its right to self-determination and its right to return to its homeland. For us, there will be no peace in the Middle East, nor can imperialism be evicted from this region unless and until the Zionist state of Israel, erected on racist and fundamentalist bases, has been dismantled. The question of Palestine will only have been solved when, on the entire historic territory of Palestine, a secular, democratic and socialist state of Palestine, bringing together Arab and Jew, has been established. But the real emancipation will only come with the Socialist Federation of the Middle East, making possible the brotherhood of all the peoples of this region.



Declare the Israeli ambassador persona non grata! Withdraw Turkey's ambassador to Israel!

Disclose and repeal all bilateral agreements and military pacts with Israel and suspend relations! Cancel all military contracts placed with Israel!

US imperialism and all imperialist forces out of the Middle East!

Freedom to Palestine! Down with the Zionist state of Israel!

For a secular, democratic and socialist state of Palestine, bringing together Arab and Jew, on the entire historic territory of Palestine!

For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!