On the dawn of the 6th of February, the southern region of Turkey was hit by a grave earthquake, followed by another one during the day, of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes, respectively. The earthquake impacted a wide zone of more than 10 cities. The Communist Party of Turkey initiated its rescue and solidarity work immediately after the earthquake, in the impacted region as well as other parts of the country, collecting aid materials and channeling them to those in need. On Saturday, the 18th of February, a massive event in the Kocatepe Cultural Center of Ankara was held, with the slogan “We are standing up, not to suffocate under rubble once again!
The event was attended by friends and militants of TKP, as well as Central Committee members. TKP General Secretary Kemal Okuyan and Head of TKP Ankara Branch Ali Ufuk Arikan spoke at the event. A delegation from the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece, who were in Ankara to pay a solidarity visit, also attended the event. Giorgos Marinos, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece also delivered a speech, in the name of proletarian internationalism and solidarity.
“We have lost tens of thousands of citizens, responsibles will be judged!”
Head of TKP Ankara Branch Ali Ufuk Arikan mentioned that the event is being held on very challenging days, shadowed with the loss of tens of thousands of people. “We gathered today with our fury, and our will to defend the rights of our people, against those who declared incentives for bosses only ten days after the earthquake. Our fury is against those who hand the unaccompanied children who have lost their parents to religious sects”, said Arikan, expressing gratitude to all who have been part of the solidarity activities.
A documentary depicting the rescue and solidarity efforts of TKP was also shown at the event.
We are standing up, not to suffocate under rubble once again!
We are standing up, to defend our future against those who dare to seize it!
Today, friends and militants of #TKP gathered in #Ankara pic.twitter.com/WZvV9biwno
— TKP International (@tkpinter) February 18, 2023
“Solidarity and the joint struggle against the exploiters and their political representatives”
A short excerpt from the salute of KKE Political Bureau Member Giorgos Marinos is below:
“The responsibilities of the bourgeois state are criminal. We live in an earthquake-prone area, therefore substantial protection measures against the earthquake, modern seismic building codes, durable buildings, regular checks, and structural interventions are needed. All these can be done. We have the necessary scientific knowledge and appropriate technological means. However, the bourgeois state and its governments serve the interests and profits of the few, of big capital. They trample on the needs of the people, allocate billions of dollars for the arms race and the needs of NATO, for imperialist competition and wars. The peoples in Turkey, Greece and other countries pay for this capitalist barbarity with their own lives.
Dear comrades and friends,
The response of the Greek people and their solidarity is astounding!
The KKE and KNE, the All-Workers’ Militant Front (PAME), the trade unions and other mass organizations are at the forefront, collecting essentials and organizing blood donations. Medical and other groups are ready to contribute to the relief of the affected people.
We greatly appreciate the enormous efforts of the Greek search and rescue team and the other crews who offered their services to rescue people from the ruins of the collapsed buildings.
Under these difficult circumstances, the friendship between the Turkish and Greek people, the other peoples, is growing stronger; because there is nothing dividing the peoples, they share common interests are united by the fact that they face the same problems and sufferings.
Their strength lies in solidarity and the joint struggle against the exploiters and their political representatives.
This is the cause that the TKP and KKE have served with consistency. We will continue on this path, strengthening the cooperation between our parties and our peoples.
We march forward together, with faith in communist ideals and values, in the just cause of the peoples and in their aspirations to live a better, human life, with the potential provided by our era, the 21st century.”
“Thousands could have been rescued”
Marinos’ salute was followed by the speech of TKP General Secretary Kemal Okuyan, who opened by addressing the great pain of the loss of tens of thousands of people, including members of TKP, loss of their memories, homes, which could have been prevented. Okuyan pointed to the inadequately taken precautions and the lack of timely and appropriate rescue efforts, by which thousands could have been rescued.
Okuyan contrasted the shameless social order as the root cause of all the losses with the bright solidarity among peoples demonstrated since the first day of the earthquake. “This is where our hopes are stemming from,” said Okuyan, and thanked all those who were part of the efforts, rescue teams, food and aid delivery teams, those who took responsibility in healthcare, attended the children, and organized solidarity acts in different cities.
Okuyan commented on the importance of questioning after this tragic event, why and if people are doomed to poverty and losses, reminding that the rubble fell on the poor.
“Planning is necessary for saving lives”
“The social order that leaves everyone on their own cannot be labeled as an order” said Okuyan, “this is a lack of order. This is a lack of planning. They are the enemies of science, they are the enemies of rational thought, they believe life is all about the stocks and market. But you need plans not only for the economy, but for saving lives, too!”
Okuyan emphasized the need to nationalize the construction sector, saying that putting profits over peoples’ lives will result in such destruction, including the public buildings, roads and highways, the health sector, all to serve for the interests of the people.
Okuyan also mentioned the grave losses in Syria, and the lack of means to organize solidarity with the neighboring Syrian people due to the conditions posed by the social order, the enmity that is being tried to provoke.
Earthquake follow-up center by TKP
Kemal Okuyan informed the attendants about the “Earthquake follow-up center” to be formed by TKP, as the needs of the impacted regions and people will be for a long-term. TKP will build up clean and breathable zones for those in the region in the frame of its capacity, while organizing people politically under the motto of “standing up not to suffocate under the rubble one again”.
TKP General Secretary made a call for citizens, friends, former party members and all people at the event to join the ranks of TKP for a stronger fight and to bring the country above this rubble generated by the social order.