FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Report on the Turkish Peace Movement

The opposition to war has been slowly building up in Turkey. There have been many demonstrations and anti-war meetings across the country. Turks oppose the war and the presence of U.S. forces in their country. War is a subject of conversation in private and public gatherings. Students and academicians, journalists and publishers, artists, and ordinary people show their resentment of the war in different forms: petitions, public declarations, peace forums, and anti-war rallies. The United States has requested/demanded the use of Turkey’s land and air bases, the stationing of 80,000 soldiers-according to some reports-in Turkey, and access to the country’s naval bases in the Black Sea! For many, this is a near occupation of the country by the United States.

For many ordinary people, the U.S. attack on Iraq is an attack on Islam and Mulsims. A taxi driver, and a father of three told me that the war was about oil and money, a ploy by Bush to get richer from resources owned by the Mulsims. Another cabby called for a union of Mulsim nations to defeat the U.S. and Israel. As an alternative to joining the EU, he proposed the formation of an Islamic Union between Turkey and its neighbors: Iraq, Iraq, and Syria. An older driver called George Bush the “Satan.” Many in Turkey share these sentiments. They feel assaulted, pushed around and disrespected, and violated by the United States. Anger towards the U.S. is growing in the country.

Nearly a month ago, more than one thousand Turks-mainly intellectuals, students, and unionists-came together at a peace forum to listen to speeches by Noam Chomsky, Tarik Ali, and others. They cheered, and burst into clapping every few minutes with Tarik Ali’s criticisms of the close alliance between Turkey and the U.S., his attack on the history of the U.S. involvement in the region, and his call for a broad and inclusive anti-war movement in Turkey. A young person from the audience, a member of “an anti-capitalist organization,” asked Tarik Ali for guidance in forming an anti-war movement. Ali’s response and his call for action by labor unions created a thunder of excitement and clapping in the auditorium. January was a month of intensified anti-war activities by the Turks. On January 26, a large and diverse crowd gathered outside Istanbul University to demonstrate against the war. They came in the thousands-middle class men and women in their western outfit, and those from poor quarters of Istanbul; women under the Islamic headscarf; children on the shoulders of their parents; workers and unionists, and student; and Arab women in their traditional garbs. They came from all walks of life, all smiled, all looked defiant and jubilant.

This was a postmodern protest against the war-an unlikely block of the seculars, Mulsims, syndicalists, and the socialists-created by the hawkish U.S. war plans in the region. There were colorful flags and banners, whistles, drums, the sound of clapping hands, cheering, and chanting. There were many pictures of Che Guvara wearing the black and white checkered Palestinian scarf, and others with his landmark cap!

The crowd chanted without stopping for a moment. They linked the Israeli persecution and killing of the Palestinians with the U.S. war crimes in Iraq; condemned George Bush and Ariel Sharon, and opposed the “Imperialist War.” Some called for socialism, others cried Allah-o Akbar. The hijabed women walked in groups of twenty or thirty; some whistled; others jeered, clapped, and protested with joy. They carried banners; posed before cameras, and protested outside the university they were barred from entering with their headscarves.

Peace signs in the air, men and women jumped up and down, danced to the beat of the drums, and loudly denounced the United States in their theatrical body movements and words. The message was clear. The U.S. was not to be welcomed in Turkey, not by its citizens.

Behzad Yaghmaian is the author of Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and New Movements for Rights (SUNY Press, 2002).

He can be reached at: behzad_yaghmaian@hotmail.com.

 

More articles by:

February 21, 2019
Nick Pemberton
Israel, Venezuela and Nationalism In The Neoliberal Era
Chris Orlet
The Bill and Melinda Gates’ Fair Taxation Scaremongering Tour
Bruce E. Levine
“Heavy Drinking” and the NYT’s Offensive Obit on Herbert Fingarette
Lisi Krall
This Historical Moment Demands Transformation of Our Institutions. The Green New Deal Won’t Do That
Stephanie Savell
Mapping the American War on Terror: Now in 80 Countries
Daniel Warner
New York, New York: a Resounding Victory for New York Over Amazon
Russell Mokhiber
With Monsanto and Glyphosate on the Run AAAS Revokes Award to Scientists Whose Studies Led to Ban on Weedkiller in Sri Lanka and Other Countries
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Fake National Emergency Moves America Closer to an Autocracy
Alex Campbell
Tracing the Threads in Venezuela: Humanitarian Aid
Jonah Raskin
Mitchel Cohen Takes on Global and Local Goliaths: Profile of a Lifelong Multi-Movement Organizer
Binoy Kampmark
Size Matters: the Demise of the Airbus A380
February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail