Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul on October 3, 2012 to oppose the prospects of their country getting involved in a war with neighbouring Syria. The protests were sparked off by the Erdogan Government using its parliamentary majority to get the legislature to give it permission to launch hostilities against “foreign countries”. The Turkish government got permission to determine “the scope, extent and time” of any military adventure it chooses to undertake in a period of one year.
The threat of Turkey getting caught up in a war against Syria became more imminent after some stray shells from the fighting within Syria fell across the border and killed members of a family in Turkey a couple of days earlier. The Turkish government responded immediately with cross-border shelling and loud sabre-rattling, in spite of the deep regret expressed by the Syrian government.
For two years now, US imperialism and its NATO allies have been trying every possibly means to bring down the government of Bashir Assad in Syria. This has included arming, financing and giving full material and political support to Syrian opposition groups. The result has been prolonged and bloody warfare within the country. In this campaign against the Syrian government, Turkey under Prime Minister Erdogan has been playing a crucial role. It has provided bases and other support to the armed opposition as a “frontline” state in the US-NATO campaign. In June, when Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter aircraft that had come into Syrian airspace, the Turkish government backed by the US-NATO group had come to the verge of war with Syria.
Increasingly, concerned people in Turkey are coming out to oppose this reckless and self-serving policy of their government in the service of the hegemonic designs of US imperialism. This was reflected in the slogans and banners in the protest rally in Istanbul. The protesters shouted “No to War!” and “U.S.A. Get Out of the Middle East!” Placards and banners carried by them said: “This War Is Not My War,” “No to Imperialist Intervention in Syria,” “We Will Halt the AK Party’s War Politics,” “We Won’t Be the Soldiers of Imperialism,” and “U.S.A. Take Your Hands Out of the Middle East.”
The protests in Istanbul against war are a very significant initiative taken by Turkish people to halt the relentless march of imperialism in the region. The people have made it very clear that they do not want to be cannon fodder for imperialist aims, and they do not want their country to be turned into a battlefield as have Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries in the region. Only the unity and strength of the people can defeat the nefarious designs of the imperialists to instigate fratricidal war among the peoples of West Asia and strengthen their own domination there.