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Turkish parties protest Nato expansion

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Picture: TKP – Turkish Communist Party (TKP) members demonstrate outside the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Various communist groups and left wing parties in Turkey have reiterated their demand for Turkey’s exit from Nato and the closure of all Nato bases in the country, the writer says. Russophobia continues to blow across Europe with the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, and Finland and Sweden have used this as an excuse to apply for Nato membership, much to the chagrin of left wing organisations and parties in these countries, the writer says.

By Muhammed Shabeer

On January 23, the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) protested the Turkish government’s machinations to strengthen the Nato war alliance. On Tuesday, the Turkish parliament overwhelmingly voted to lift the Turkish veto on Sweden’s membership in the Nato alliance. TKP has slammed the vote in the parliament as shameful and accused the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of cementing Turkey’s position in the war organisation, and for continuing to be an accomplice in Nato’s imperialist manoeuvres by putting the people of the country at risk.

The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TiP), the Labour Party (EMEP), and other left groupings also denounced Turkey’s involvement in Nato and called for the closure of Nato bases in the country.

On Tuesday, TKP cadres organised a militant demonstration outside the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, chanting slogans such as “Seize the bases, get out of Nato” and “Killer US, get out of our country”, while the vote on Sweden’s Nato membership was taking place.

With the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022, succumbing to the Russophobia that continues to blow across Europe, Finland and Sweden applied for Nato membership, reversing their traditional policy of neutrality. Left-wing groups in these countries, especially the communist parties, have denounced their respective governments for compromising the traditional policy of neutrality and joining the US-led war alliance.

Turkey, using its right to veto as a Nato member, has opposed Finland’s and Sweden’s membership approval, accusing both countries of sheltering Kurdish activists, specifically, members of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

Turkey accused PKK and other activists struggling for the rights of the Kurdish minority of “terrorist acts”. In April 2023, Finland joined Nato as its 31st member, when Turkey approved Finland’s Nato membership bid on the assurance that Finland had taken steps to address Turkish concerns. But Turkey continued its opposition to Sweden’s membership bid.

To pacify Turkey’s objections, Sweden also tightened its ‘anti-terrorist laws’ per Turkish demands and agreed to support Turkey’s pursuit of EU membership. Behind the scenes, to lift the veto, many other deals are also being brokered to facilitate the sale of F-16 fighter jets from the US, German missiles, and other weapons to Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely to formally lift the Turkish veto on Sweden’s accession to Nato within days. Hungary had also earlier opposed the Swedish bid over the latter’s criticisms of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s policies. Recently, Orbán himself expressed his willingness to solve the issue and also welcomed his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson to Hungary for talks on Nato membership.

In its statement on January 23, the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) wrote “the AKP government resisted Sweden’s membership and tried to use this issue as a bargaining chip with imperialism on various issues, especially the purchase of F-16 aircraft”.

TKP has denounced Nato as a terrorist organisation that poses a major security threat to the people of both member states and other countries. “It tries to guarantee the continuation of the capitalist order by using direct war methods and terrorist tactics and does not hesitate to do its best to silence the voices of the workers. What needs to be done urgently is to get rid of Nato. The first step of this is the departure of our country and other member countries from Nato.”

Muhammed Shabeer is an author at Peoples Dispatch

This article was first published on Peoples Dispatch