The campaign launched by some circles with the claim of “sending the refugees back to their countries”, came to the rescue of the AKP government, which drew the anger of a large part of the people due to poverty and the high cost of living. The ruckus emanating from the lowly debate between the Minister of the Interior and the leader of a nationalist party does not alter this fact.
The argument used by the government and the so-called opposition parties that many problems in Turkey are caused by immigrants, only serves to sweep the real causes of the economic problems under the carpet.
All over the world, xenophobia and racism are policies systematically supported by the capitalists to divide the workers and set them against one another. Thus, by oppressing the migrant workers they exploit for extremely low wages, they also create hostility between them and other workers, weakening the spirit of unity and solidarity within the working class.
Today, if education and health services have been privatized in our country, it is not because of refugees, but because of the pro-market policies. If our bills have tripled, it is not because of refugees, but because of the privatized energy sector, it is Koç, Sabancı and Cengiz Holdings that have become rich in this sector. If house rents have skyrocketed, it is not because of refugees, but because of this social order that makes housing a commodity. If we can’t find bread, if we can’t feed ourselves, it’s not because of refugees, it’s because of the politicians who are collaborating with the EU and destroying agriculture. If we cannot benefit from the resources of the country, it is not because of the refugees, but because of bourgeois politics that prefer to make the capitalists grow richer instead of making sure people have food to eat.
Today, in Turkey, it is not a “silent invasion*” (*referring to a recent short film supported by fascist politicians) of immigrants, but a brutal invasion of the capital. NATO and US bases in our country, nuclear weapons; the attacks on the Middle East and the lives destroyed by disregarding the borders and sovereignty rights are the consequences of this invasion. The immigration problem will continue as long as this predatory invasion by Western imperialists and beheading jihadists continues.
The system of exploitation, on the one hand, sells dreams of escaping abroad to our youth, on the other hand, fuels hatred against the immigrants who took refuge in our country by escaping the war. It is “natural” to flee abroad to build a better life, but fleeing war in one’s country to survive is considered “cowardly”.
The politicians of the order, who cannot find a real and humane solution to the problems, find the way out by putting the blame on the immigrants. Inspired by far-right and neo-fascist parties in Europe, they target immigrants every day. Some media outlets have been fueling the hatred towards immigrants even more with the video content they put up, portraying the immigrants as responsible for the reaction and violence against women. Granting citizenship to foreigners who buy housing for 400 thousand dollars is perhaps overshadowed by the videos shot by those who do not even have a house to live in.
The reactionary ideologies that make themselves felt among immigrants cannot be seen as an issue of cultural diversity; but it also cannot be generalized. Displaced refugees cannot be labeled as total reactionaries on the basis of some examples that got the attention of the public. Just as there are people from different class origins among immigrants, there are also people with different political and ideological affiliations. The struggle for enlightenment is vital and essential for the entire working class, including our fellow migrant workers.
Today, immigrants are used as an accessory in the vote race between the government and the opposition. AKP, which has committed war crimes in Syria, used to claim they would not force the immigrants to go back but now they realize that this rhetoric will not get them votes, and so they now say they will send one million Syrians back. As if their plunder of northern Syria for years is not enough, now they’re going to throw thousands of people into the arms of the jihadists they funded.Thousands of people who have established a life for themselves here for ten years will be sacrificed to the AKP’s expansionist ambitions in Syria and the north of Iraq; they will now be used as the means to change the demographic structure of the region.
We ask Erdogan: To whom did you give the bids in northern Syria, which you occupied by disregarding the borders and sovereignty of other countries, how many coffers of bosses did you fill by the plunder of Syrian lands? With what authority did you establish those sites and camps in Syria?
At this point, Soylu, the dubious minister of the AKP, also points his finger at the bosses: “If they go, you will be the first to object.” Of course they will object; as an AKP member stated in the past, today the industry in Turkey survives thanks to migrant labor. We ask Soylu: How many immigrants are employed without insurance in workshops, factories and underground businesses, how many immigrants can even earn the minimum wage?
The opposition, which supported AKP’s cross-border operations with the rhetoric of national unity and solidarity, now boast that it will be them to send the immigrants back. IYIP, DEVA and Saadet, who voted in favor of the bills in the parliament without even questioning what business AKP has in Syria, are acting all hawkish when it comes to immigrants. Despite saying “yes” to these motions for cross-border operations for years, the CHP, which voted “no” last year to look palatable to the Kurds, is issuing statements of support for the operations on its social media account. We ask the Nation Alliance: Aren’t you the least embarrassed when you blame the poor migrant workers instead of holding AKP accountable for its war crimes?
We know that they cannot answer any of these questions. Only communists can answer these questions in this country.
Since the beginning of the war, industrial bosses in the region close to the Syrian border, especially in Gaziantep, had their share from the looting of Syria. It was the Turkish bosses who equipped the FSA, from the boots on their feet to the armor on them. Defense industry giants were rubbing their hands on the bullet orders given to them. Tenders for field hospitals and residences went to Kolin Group; those of the prefabricated camps were given to Dorçe Prefabrik. But do not think that only these gangs benefited from the Syrian plunder. Koç’s refinery in Batman was filled with ISIS oil from Deir ez-Zor.
Today, with the agreements signed with the European Union, our country has been turned into a prison for refugees. In a total display of hypocrisy and racism, Europe, which shut its borders to the Syrian immigrants, opened its doors to Ukrainians by saying “They are white like us”. As long as imperialism prevails, the immigration problem cannot be solved. The issue of refugees cannot be resolved with a liberal approach that only opposes racism. The issue cannot be handled with the simplicity of “we are all brothers, they are human too”.
It is also wrong to try to solve the immigration problem on the basis of international law, even if it may provide considerable protection for refugees. We cannot forget the fact that the international system dominated by the capitalist class, in which exploitation is the determinant factor, shapes and interprets international law in accordance with its own interests. It is futile to try to describe the immigrant problem as an external problem to the social order in Turkey. Any discussion focused on “how to get rid of immigrants” will only justify the exploitation in Turkey, the AKP government and Turkey’s reaction in general.
In the light of all this above, the Communist Party of Turkey approaches the immigrant problem on the basis of the struggle against exploitation and imperialism and continues its work with the following principles:
1. Not every discomfort felt due to immigrants is racism. However, it should not be forgotten that racism has opened up space for itself by taking advantage of real problems everywhere and is spreading rapidly. We will not make any concessions to racism, we will not tolerate it.
2. The antidote to racism is not cosmopolitanism, but a class perspective. It is not our duty to approach a Syrian rich capitalist with the same attitude towards the Syrian or Afghan worker who is employed for three cents 14 hours a day.
3. The “Readmission Agreement”, which has turned Turkey into a migrant warehouse, is pure trash. This agreement, which is immoral in terms of all its elements and parties, is the product of the European Union’s imperialist approach, which we have seen in many other examples.
4. The practice of selling the citizenship of the Republic of Turkey with money and property, and the practice of allowing the rich to acquire citizenship as they wish, shows the dimensions of the moral decay reached by capitalism. This practice will be terminated retrospectively and with all its consequences. This country does not need new parasites.
5. Turkey should leave Syria immediately. The “reconstructed safe zones”, which are portrayed as a solution to the immigrant problem, do not belong to Turkey. The sending of millions of people to these regions by force or persuasion will further deepen the current problems in Syria.
6. Immigrants must organize. Immigrants must organize against the imperialism that displaces them, against the bosses who brutally exploit them. Immigrants should become a part of the struggle for enlightenment against reaction in Turkey and upset the AKP’s game. The right to organize is the most burning right of immigrants. TKP has undertaken the task of defending this right and putting it into practice.
7. Immigrants’ integration and adaptation into this country will be facilitated by their joint struggle with Turkey’s poor and workers. TKP insists on seeing immigrant workers as part of the working class of Turkey.
8. The Communist Party of Turkey is holding an “Immigrant Conference” on June 12 with the participation of vanguard migrant workers who are fighting against exploitation, reactionism and imperialism. At the conference, the issue will be discussed in terms of foreign policy, economy, culture, law and trade union.