The AKP has a pro-West political line in a country that is a member of NATO. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul, Turkey has continued to serve as a client state of imperialism, while playing a more aggressive regional role and giving the government a mild Islamic flavor and an aura of independence.
The Turkish government’s role in supporting Syrian terrorist groups
A WikiLeaks e-mail between a Turkish official and a Stratfor analyst released in December 2011 exposed the role Turkey has been playing in providing training, arms and support to terrorist groups operating in Syria. When challenged by the same Stratfor analyst about how to create the conditions for a civil war considering the strength of the Syrian government forces, the Turkish official’s response was, “It’ll be messy and it will take a lot of blood and time for a Sunni power to emerge in Syria, but that this is the Turkish obligation.”
Turkey also hosted the so-called “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul in April. At this conference attended by many Western imperialist governments and their regional client regimes, the main opposition body, the Syrian National Council, announced that opposition forces as well as soldiers who defect from the Syrian army would be paid salaries funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
In March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had urged the “international community” to start arming the SNC, an entity fully supported by the imperialist powers. Most of the SNC members are pro-Western intellectuals living abroad with no real popular base within Syria.
In November 2011, Mohammad Riad Shaqfa, a leader of Muslim Brotherhood, the only group with real force within the SNC, stated: “If the international community procrastinates then more is required from Turkey. … If other interventions are required, such as air protection, because of the regime’s intransigence, then the people will accept Turkish intervention. … We and our people admire the Turkish experiment.”
No one should be surprised a Muslim Brotherhood leader and the Turkish PM are in complete agreement in calling for NATO intervention. It is also interesting that Erdogan’s remarks were made right after Syria’s parliamentary elections under a new constitution that had been approved by an overwhelming majority of the Syrian population in an earlier referendum in February.
Foreign-backed terrorist groups in Damascus claim 55 civilian lives
While the imperialist-backed client regimes like Turkey with their fake rhetoric about “protecting civilians” are calling for an imperialist attack on the sovereign state of Syria, terrorist groups backed by these same client regimes are continuing to murder unarmed civilians in heinous terrorist attacks.
On May 10, at a crowded intersection in Damascus, at rush hour when many people were heading to work and children were going to school, two concurrent terrorist explosions claimed the lives of 55 people. Of these, 24 were children in a school bus; 372 people were injured. The explosions were carried out by suicide bombers driving two cars loaded with more than 1,000 kilograms of explosives.
A statement released by the General Federation of Trade Unions in Syria pointed to the escalation of violence against Syrian citizens by armed terrorist groups backed up by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S., France and Britain. The statement said that the state of hysteria of those who conspire against Syria and their failure to achieve their aims has led them to escalate their acts against the Syrian people.
This recent terrorist attack in Damascus is only one of the many that have occurred, especially after the so-called peace plan that demanded the Syrian government withdraw all its forces while providing no guarantees that the opposition forces would stop the violence. These terrorist attacks continue to claim the lives of many civilians, security personnel and Syrian government officials despite the so-called “cease-fire.”
Recent reports released by Human Rights Watch point out many human rights violations carried out by the members of SNC and Free Syrian Army, including executions, kidnapping and torturing of civilians who are supportive of the Syrian government.
Syria—a popular uprising?
It does not take much to notice the similarities between the events in Syria and Libya. In both, opposition forces were heavily armed from the start. They were fully backed by the imperialist powers and their client regimes including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
In Syria, special NATO forces were on the ground from the get-go, providing assistance in planning terrorist attacks and training the opposition groups against the Syrian government. In Libya, NATO was directly and openly involved with a massive aerial bombing campaign to assist the opposition forces.
Leadership of both countries became targets of a massive demonization campaign by the mainstream media. So-called “National Transitional Councils” were formed, and both councils were recognized by the imperialist powers as well as their regional client states as “legitimate representatives” of the people even though these councils had little grassroots support and no real popular representation. Both councils eagerly called for NATO intervention and imperialist invasion.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted saying, “Just as we have done in Libya, we are also encouraging the Syrian opposition to set forth their own roadmap.” The council did in fact set up a roadmap, but it was not as much their own as it was that of the imperialist powers.
In total contrast to Libya and Syria, Bahrain and Yemen have seen genuine mass uprisings against imperialist client regimes. Those repressive regimes have continued to enjoy the full support of the imperialist powers. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has remained quiet despite massive human rights violations, torture and executions. In Egypt, Western powers continued to back the U.S. client Mubarak dictatorship until the very last minute.
Progressives and revolutionaries in the United States need to understand the nature of the opposition forces in Syria before calling it a “revolution” and grouping it along with the other truly popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. The aftermath of the so-called “Libyan revolution” with its mass graves, racist lynchings and torture should serve as an example that illustrates not what a “popular revolution” is but what an imperialist-backed regime change looks like.
Hands off Syria!