Down with the imperialist aggression of the EU, Israel and Arab tyrants against Turkey! Support the ongoing Arab Revolution!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 14 September 2020, www.thecommunists.net
Note of the Editorial Board: The following statement briefly summarizes and updates our analysis and tactics on the conflict in Eastern Mediterranean. For a detailed elaboration we refer readers to the extensive RCIT Theses on this issue (“Turkey and the Growing Tensions in Eastern Mediterranean”, see below).
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1. The military tensions in Eastern Mediterranean are making a war in Europe with the participation of imperialist Great Powers a realistic possibility for the first time since World War II. As this conflict involves various states from three different regions – Mashriq in the Middle East, North Africa’s Maghreb as well as Europe – it has truly international dimensions.
2. It is crucial for revolutionaries to understand the complex nature of this conflict and to take a principled position. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) calls to continue supporting the ongoing popular liberation struggles in Syria, Libya, etc. against the forces of counterrevolution (Assad, Haftar, …) and, at the same time, to defend Turkey against the imperialist aggression of the EU, Greece, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Egypt’s General Sisi.
3. On the surface, the conflict in Eastern Mediterranean appears to be a rivalry of regional powers for control over the vast gas reserves in the region. No doubt, such antagonistic economic interests of the states involved exist and constitute an important element in this conflict. However the substance of this conflict is far more complicated as it takes place in the context of profound upheavals in the regional class struggle as well as in the configuration of the imperialist and regional powers.
4. The revolutionary process in the Arab world, which started in 2011, has been the most profound global class struggle event since the 1968-76 period. It has brought down several dictators (e.g. Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gaddafi and Saleh), opened long-running popular liberation wars (in Syria against the Russian-Iranian-Assadist occupation; in Yemen against the Saudi/UAE invasion and in Libya against General Haftar’s counterrevolution) and it also experienced a number of bitter defeats (e.g. General Sisi’s military coup in Egypt). Shamefully, numerous Stalinist and centrist forces take a neutral stance in these struggles or even support the Arab tyrants and their imperialist backers.
5. These convulsive events have also provoked the formation of two counterrevolutionary “Holy Alliances”. One is the axis of Russian imperialism, Iran, Hezbollah and the Assad dictatorship; the other consists of Saudi-Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt in close alliance with US and Israeli imperialism.
6. In contrast to these two counterrevolutionary alliances, some states hope to maneuver between the Great Powers and to advance their interests by exploiting and materially aiding various liberation struggles. This is particularly the case with Turkey which lends limited support for the remaining liberation forces in Idlib as well as for the Libyan GNA government. Another example is Turkey’s tacit support for exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders who face persecution by the Egypt dictatorship. Qatar, an ally of Turkey, plays a similar role albeit to a more limited degree (e.g. its financial aid for Gaza dominated by Hamas).
7. As the RCIT has repeatedly pointed out, we refuse any political support for the bourgeois-Islamist Erdoğan government. We support the right of national self-determination of the Kurdish people. Furthermore, Turkey’s support for the liberation struggles in Syria and Libya is a tainted gift. In exchange for its material (including military) support, Ankara tries to get advantageous business deals. In addition, it attempts to increase its control over the Syrian liberation forces resp. the Libyan government. This is not only dangerous in itself as it liquidates the popular influence over the liberation forces. It is also harmful as the Erdoğan regime tries to advance its political and economic interests by striking deals with Russian as well as with American imperialism (e.g. the Astana/Sochi process which aims to liquidate the Syrian Revolution).
8. European imperialism – in particular its Mediterranean member states led by France – has massively accelerated the tensions in the region. They fully support Greece and Cyprus and their claims against Turkey. These claims – based on the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 which the Great Powers imposed on Turkey – effectively deny Ankara any significant share of maritime control despite the fact that it is the most populous Mediterranean country after Egypt. Shamefully, the Stalinist KKE and other “left-wing” forces in Greece are long-time standard bearers of Athens’ chauvinism as they call for the “intransigent defense” of its maritime borders against Turkey.
9. The planned joint pipeline projects between Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt should allow the long-term supply of Europe with natural gas (which in turn would reduce the EU’s dependency on Russian gas imports). This is why these states are determined to scotch the plans of Turkey and Libya to develop their joint exploitation of natural gas reserves in Eastern Mediterranean as their “Exclusive Economic Zone“ would cut in the middle the pipeline plans of the EU, Israel and Egypt.
10. There are also two additional factors which drive the aggressive war-mongering of European governments against Turkey. First, this campaign should advance the formation of the EU as an independent military bloc which does not totally depend on the U.S. resp. on NATO. Secondly, it shall bolster their Islamophobic agenda, justified by bourgeois secularism (e.g. France) as well as by Christian orthodoxy (e.g. Greece, Eastern Europe), which is directed against the rapidly growing group of Muslim migrants in the EU.
11. More recently, U.S. imperialism also stated its official support for Cyprus and its claims against Turkey. Furthermore, the U.S. also decided to lift a 33-year arms embargo against Cyprus.
12. In summary, the tensions in Eastern Mediterranean do not represent a conflict between two equal evils. On one side there is a counterrevolutionary alliance of European imperialism with Israel and several Arab dictatorships (with the backing of the U.S.). In other words, it is a thoroughly reactionary bloc of imperialism, Zionism and Arab tyrants. On the other side is Turkey, an advanced semi-colony. Ankara tries to advance its interests by maneuvering between the Great Powers and by tactically supporting various liberation struggles. If this conflict ends with a victory for the “Holy Alliance” it would strengthen the imperialist EU, Israel as well as the Arab tyrants. It would weaken the liberation struggles in Syria, Libya and Palestine.
13. Revolutionaries must strive to avoid such an outcome. Any neutral stance is paramount to indifference towards the strengthening of imperialism, Zionism and tyranny as well as towards the fate of the ongoing popular liberation struggles in the Arab world. This is why the RCIT calls for the defense of Turkey against the imperialist-Zionist-tyrannical aggression without lending any political support to the Erdoğan government. Such a defense must be combined with unconditional support for the ongoing Arab Revolution and the Palestinian liberation struggle. We call for a single Intifada in the entire Middle East – from Baghdad and Beirut, Idlib, Tripoli, Sanaʽa, Gaza, Cairo, Algiers, Khartoum to Teheran – as the way forward to the Socialist Federation of the Middle East! We call for building of an international solidarity movement against the counterrevolutionary war-mongering in Eastern Mediterranean.
* Defeat the imperialist aggression of EU-Greece-Israel-UAE-Egypt against Turkey!
* No to any EU sanctions against Turkey!
* In any military conflict: Defeat the imperialist-Zionist aggressors – Victory for Turkey!
* Support the ongoing Syrian Revolution against the Russian-Iranian-Assadist occupation!
* Solidarity with Libya against General Haftar’s counterrevolution!
* Defend Yemen against the Saudi/UAE invasion!
* Down with the “Normalization” with Israel!
* Smash the Zionist state – Victory to the Palestinian liberation struggle!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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We refer readers to the RCIT’s extensive document on the conflict in Eastern Mediterranean:
RCIT: Turkey and the Growing Tensions in Eastern Mediterranean. Theses on the complex contradictions between imperialist and regional powers, the Arab Revolution and the consequential tactics of Marxists, 28 August 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/turkey-and-the-growing-tensions-in-eastern-mediterranean/
See also the following documents:
RCIT: Egypt’s Dictator Sisi Threatens to Invade Libya. Defeat the counterrevolutionary bandit Haftar and the powers behind him! 24 June 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-s-dictator-sisi-threatens-to-invade-libya/
Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, February 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2018/
Documents of the RCIT on the second wave of the Arab Revolution: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-2nd-wave-of-great-arab-revolution/.
Documents of the RCIT on the Syrian Revolution: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/