Blaming Kurds for terrorism in Turkey
volume 37
issue 4
August 2016

Whenever there is a murderous assault on civilians in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempts to accuse the Kurdish independence movement rather than ISIS, whose atrocities in the region are notorious. After suicide bombers attacked Ataturk airport in Istanbul, killing 42 people and injuring 239, Erdogan hedged, saying that “the bombs that explode in our country today” come from both the Kurds and ISIS.

In fact, Kurds have been displaced, imprisoned and murdered for decades, while resisting politically and with arms. Until 1991 it was illegal to speak Kurdish in public places in Turkey.

Kurdish forces do not bomb civilians. But they have asserted their legitimate right to sovereignty in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, becoming a thorn in the side of the repressive regimes of each of these countries. In Erdogan’s case, the Kurdish rebellion is one of the most threatening components of Turkey’s growing restiveness with his increasingly autocratic and anti-secular rule.

Most of the imperialist governments, including the United States, go along with the designation of the secular, socialist Kurdish fighters as “terrorists.” But the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and its militias, which include thousands of women warriors, have crucial civilian support. And because Kurdish fighters are among the few ground forces capable of defeating ISIS militias, the U.S. has temporarily collaborated with Kurdish forces against ISIS.

But, for working-class internationalists, solidarity with Kurdish revolutionaries is not temporary.

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