By IDP, the Turkish section of the IWU-FI
21 May 2022
While Erdogan and government officials keep declaring their determination to fight inflation at all times, the official inflation rate has reached 70% according to the latest statement of TUIK (Turkish Statistical Institute), and the real inflation rate is over 150%. Despite this situation, the government seems to be determined not to take any measures to improve the wages, which drags the wage earners and pensioners into a terrible hardship. Instead, and once again, the government is trying to repress the growing reaction of the workers through its hostility towards the Kurds and immigrants and its repressive policies of polarisation, such as the Gezi.
The bourgeois opposition parties prefer to express their opposition to the government based on hostility towards immigrants, instead of raising their voices against anti-labour and anti-democratic policies. Meanwhile, racist groups such as the Victory Party have been waging a widespread campaign for the immediate deportation of all immigrants. Erdogan talks of building houses in northern Syria and then sending back 1 million Syrians. The Ministry of the Interior is again hunting down “illegal immigrants”, which feeds the racist attacks in the society.
We need to know clearly that this new wave of attacks on immigrants is one of the major attempts to divide us, the workers, and to prevent the emergence of a workers’ opposition. The source of the current economic crisis and the poverty in which we find ourselves is not the immigrants who are forced to flee wars and dictatorial regimes in their countries, but capitalism and the governments that pursue it. The parties of order, which never speak out against imperialist occupations, dictatorial regimes or bosses who see migrants as a source of cheap labour, the EU which has voluntarily turned Turkey into a border guard and the hypocritical and self-serving immigration policies of the AKP are the real fuels of xenophobia and racism, which especially target the refugees.
We workers know that nobody migrates for no reason. The destruction caused by imperialist occupations in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq has displaced millions of people. Today, a similar situation is happening in Ukraine because of Russia’s invasion of the country. While over 10 million people had to leave their homes because of the occupation of Ukraine, over 5 million people have already left the country. Also in Syria, millions of people had left their country fleeing the bloody massacres of the Assad dictatorship.
The AKP government, with its aggressive, expansionist and adventurist foreign policy, has become one of the main ones responsible for the destruction of the region. By not granting official refugee status to asylum seekers, it has used refugees as puppets against the EU and offered them to Turkish capitalism as cheap labour. It tried to create a new dynamic of division among the workers through these policies that paved the way for the increase of racism.
We must not allow the government or the bourgeois opposition parties to create such division and conflict based on racism among the labourers. Anti-immigration, racism, oppression of Kurds, discrimination against women and LGBTI+s… All these policies divide the workers and strengthen capitalism. Socialists and labour organisations must prevent racism at all costs and include refugees in the workers’ struggle. A united plan of struggle against the oppressive regime of the AKP-MHP alliance and against the unprecedented poverty for which this alliance is responsible will eliminate the artificial divisions among the workers and unite all class segments in the struggle.