Saturday, May 18, 2013

WPC Statement on the recent bomb explosions in Reyhanli/Turkey

The World Peace Council expresses its serious concern about the bomb explosions in the Turkish city of Reyhanli, a few kilometres away from the borders with Syria.

The many dozens dead and the many more injured, to the relatives of whom we express our sympathy and condolences, are adding one more element in the escalation of the war mongers of NATO and its allies in the broader region of Middle East. It is not by chance that for two years now the same Turkish city of Reyhanli was used as a springboard for recruiting, training and sending armed mercenaries into Syria, while the same city was mentioned in several statements of the Peace Movement in Turkey as the transfer point for weapons and military equipment for the so-called Free Syrian Army.
Without knowing yet the details of the bomb explosions and their exact back ground, it is obvious that the policies of active political and military interference exercised by Turkey (recently with the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles in the same area) as part of the imperialist plans to destabilize and overthrow the Syrian regime, are having consequences both to the Syrian and Turkish people. They are feeding such criminal acts. We call upon the government of Turkey to not use the Reyhanli bombings as a pretext for an open attack against Syria.
The tragic bomb explosions in Reyhanli remind us the daily suffering of the Syrian people for two years now, caused by the organized armed groups which are operating from several neighbour countries and particularly from Reyhanli in Turkey.
The WPC, having organized with the Peace Association of Turkey ten days ago and only 40 km away from Reyhanli a mass solidarity event/concert with the people of Syria in the city of Antakya, is sure of the peace loving sentiments of the vast majority of the people of Turkey and in particular of the Hatay province (where Reyhanli belongs to). In the same context we express our solidarity with the ongoing demonstrations in more than ten cities of Turkey, including Antakya, which are demanding peace and end of the interference in Syria.
We reiterate our slogans and demands which we share in common with all of them:
Peace and anti-imperialist Solidarity amongst the neighbour peoples!
NATO out of the Middle East!
Down with imperialism which causes wars and misery!

The Secretariat of WPC   Athens May 12, 2013


News on Reyhanlı: Death toll above 100 after Reyhanlı bombings in Turkey near Syrian border

Press Release from Peace Association, Turkey
 (zeynep bespinar May 14th 2013)

While the official statements from the AKP government claim the death toll is 49, according to the information from the hospital officials in Reyhanlı, it is actually more than 100, after the two bombs that exploded in the town center near the municipality building and main post office on May 11th.

 Conflicting statements from the AKP government after the incident
: Speaking from Berlin, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: "It ispossible that there would be provocations during such a critical transition period in Syria." Refering  to the government of Syria with a
 threatening attitude, Davutoğlu continued: "Nobody should test the power of Turkey. Whoever has committed this act will get a full
 response from us if needed. It is not a coincidence that all this
 happened just as critical decisions were being made for the 'transition period' and  diplomatic contacts were intensifying. Turkey will not give up its decisive policies."

In Istanbul, Prime Minister Erdoğan accused parties that wanted to sabotage the "peace process" with the Kurdish in Turkey. He said "We have started a new era with the peace process in our country and those who can't stand this process may have done this."

Deputy Prime Minister  Beşir Atalay claimed that the organization behind the bombings was a pro-Syrian government  group "Syrian Resistance". The group is led by Mihraç Ural, an Antakya Alawite, and an ex-leftist leader who has been fighting in Syria against FSA with his group in Syria.The statement issued by the Head of Parliament, Bülent Arınç said that" the Assad regime" is the usual suspect behind the incident. 

People of Reyhanlı take to the streets to denounce the  AKP
 right after the explosions, video footage from the journalists in the
 area captured the reactions of the   town people , expressing their anger towards the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, blaming him and
 the AKP government for the massacre. The young people were
 shouting on the ruins of the explosion for Erdoğan to resign immediately. Very shortly after these reactions by the locals, the government declared that it was forbidden for the press to broadcast from the area.

 Demonstration in Antakya 
a few hours after the explosions, a huge demonstration in the city
 centre of Antakya was attended by thousands of people. The demonstration was
 headed by an organisation "The Union to Prevent an Imperialist
 Intervention into Syria".  The organisation demanded the resignationof the governor of Antakya. Speaking on behalf of the organisation,
 Eylem Mansuroğlu said that the perpetrators of this massacre are the bloody Al-Qaeda murderers, Al Nusra jihadist gangs and the AKP
-government who protects and supports these groups. Mansuroğlu said: "This attack is a direct result of the war policies of the AKP-government. This attack is about the policies of animosity by the government in order to destroy the historical, economic, cultural and family relations that exist between the peoples of Turkey and Syria.
 We, as the forces of democracy, had noted numerous times in our statements in the past that the war policies led by the AKP government
 will bring about nothing but blood, suffering and death.We want peace. We demand an immediate end to the misuse  of
 Turkish territory . We demand that  murderers who threaten another country must not be given shelter. We want to support the  the
 genuine refugees from Syria. The victims of war need to be cared for. But t the armed militants  are to be expelled from the Turkish territory immediately.Only the people of Syria should determine the future of Syria. The sectarian conflict that is being fuelled in Syria will turn into a conflict that will soak the whole of Middle East with blood. The bombings in Reyhanlı are a clear proof of this danger."The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) also participated in the
 demonstration, carrying banners saying "Hands off Syria". The TKP also issued a statement demanding the resignation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu. The declaration noted that: "The AKP Government has been a straight supporter of the bloody provocations in
 Syria. Turkey was drawn into a dreadful swirl with the rhetoric of "diplomatic profundity". The peoples of Turkey and the people of Hatay  in the first place are paying the price for the infamy of the attempt to
 gain regional power by feeding the enemies of the people of Syria. The explosions in Reyhanlı indicate that the "foreign policy" of
 subcontracting for imperialism has hit the wall.The chief architect of these anti-human and warmongering policies, the minister of foreign affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu must step down
 immediately. AKP government will surely pay for the crimes against humanity and against the people of Syria
First terrible results

Locals clash with the Syrian refugees. The initial panic after the explosions soon turned into rage against the Syrians in the town. It was reported that there were clashes between the local population and the Syrian refugees after the explosions. In addition to the police, Turkish military had to intervene to suppress the clashes.The town with a local population of 70 thousand people has been hosting around 80 thousand refugees. Along with the refugees, there are also armed members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Reyhanlı has been the main hub for FSA in its fight in northern Syria. It is on one
 of the most significant supply routes for FSA, the Cilvegözü-Bab Al
 Hawa route. FSA militants take refuge in camps setup in Reyhanlı and
 freely cross the Syrian border to attack the Syrian government forces and cross the border back to Turkey to rest.

There has been constant tension between the locals of Reyhanlı and FSA
 militants since FSA has been in the area.

Media ban by AKP government on coverage from Reyhanlı
After the incident, the biggest censorship in the Turkish history came into force when AKP government introduced a media ban on coverage from
 Reyhanlı. Three journalists were detained for violating the ban.
 According to the state prosecutor, media coverage from Reyhanlı would
 expose certain "state secrets".

 Evidence at the scene of incident  were cleared by bulldozers
. Members of the main opposition party CHP, went to Reyhanlı just hoursafter the bombings. One of the CHP deputies, Mevlüt Dudu who went to
 the explosion site said that "Police officers are not gathering evidence; on the contrary they are burying the evidence. Bulldozers are clearing the scene".

The government has issued a ban on the media to take pictures or videos
 of the crime scene. Two cameramen were detained for shooting the explosion site.

Reyhanlı incident ignites protests all over Turkey
. On Sunday May 12th, there were massive protests held in cities all
 over Turkey, including İstanbul, Ankara, Mersin, Eskişehir and İzmir. In all the protests, AKP was denounced as the responsible party for
 the massacre in Reyhanlı. Speaking at the protest in Ankara, DengizSönmez, spokesperson for the main government employees union KESK,
 said: "As long as the forces of labor, democracy and revolution are
 standing against US' subcontractor AKP, imperialism and its lackey
 AKP will eventually pay the price." Sönmez also indicated that what happened in Reyhanlı was an excuse for imperialist intervention in
 Syria, adding: "We will never leave the people of Syria stranded. We
 are screaming from here that we will not let our country to be pushed to war."

Previous incidents similar to Reyhanlı
There have been four previous incidents in Turkey that resulted in thedeaths of civilians. All of the incidents were a direct result ofAKP's policies towards Syria.

The first one was in October 2012 when a mortar fire from Syriaresulted in the deaths of five Turkish citizens and injury to nineothers in Akçakale, a Turkish town on the Syrian border.After the incident, the residents of Akçakale stormed the AKP mayor'soffice, holding AKP responsible for the deaths. AKP officials blamedthe Syrian government and used the incident as an excuse for anartillery attack into Syria. A few days after the incident, evidencepointed to the armed opposition for the mortar attack, not the Syrianarmy the mortar attack.

The second incident took place in January 2013 in the province ofGaziantep. After an explosion that claimed the lives of Syriancitizens in the industrial section of town, AKP officials quicklyblamed the Syrian government. Later on, it was revealed that theexplosion was caused by an overheated acid boiler in a factory whereSyrian refugees were put to work illegally.

On February 11th 2013, there was a huge explosion in Cilvegözü bordercrossing near Reyhanlı which claimed the lives of 14 people andinjured more than ten. AKP government blamed Syria again but instead of providing evidence for their claim, the government censored those who sought the evidence.

 On May 2nd, a group of people belonging to the Syrian opposition wanted to cross the border at Akçakale. When the Turkish police asked
 to see their passports, the group attacked with assault rifles,killing one police officer and injuring five civilians.The AKP government
 was did not accuse the Syrian government for this serious boxer incident. The
 government and the mainstream media dropped the whole issue within a few
 days after the incident.