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Massacre of 17 Political Activists in Turkey is an Act of Terrorism by the Turkish State

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
20 September 2005

Last June 17, seventeen Turkish political activists, several of them had lived in Germany and the Netherlands and had acquired citizenships and residencies in these countries, went back to Turkey to attend a political meeting. As they gathered to hold their meeting, according to reports, helicopter gunships backed by some 2,000 Turkish ground troops attacked the meeting with rockets and gunfire. Most of the activists died instantly, while several were reported to have died later from their wounds.

The Turkish state has made sketchy reports that the incident on June 17 in the district of Mercan, southeast of Turkey, was an armed encounter between Turkish troops and armed revolutionaries.

Turkish human rights organizations, relatives of the massacre victims and the recent international fact-finding mission that went to Turkey composed of lawyers, journalists and relatives of the victims, have all disputed the claim of the Turkish authorities and have concluded that the incident was a planned execution of political activists opposed to the fascist and pro-imperialist Turkish state.

The international fact-finding mission, specifically, raised the strong possibility that the movements of several of the activists who came from Germany and the Netherlands had been monitored weeks or even months before the massacre, and the information gathered by the intelligence services of these European Union member countries could have been relayed to the Turkish authorities, thus facilitating the merciless execution of the 17 activists.

Considering the silence of the European Union on this massacre, the EU displays its implicit support for fascism and the utter disregard and abuse of fundamental human rights by the Turkish state which the EU has invited to become its member state. The EU is displaying hypocrisy and double standard with regards its application of international humanitarian law and human rights on a fascist state like Turkey.

This massacre is but the latest in an endless string of cases of human rights violations committed by the Turkish state against its political opponents, progressive movements and the Kurdish people. In inviting Turkey into the fold of the imperialist formation called the European Union, these human rights violations in Turkey have remained systematically sidelined or shamelessly ignored.

Together with the progressive movement, human rights and people's organizations in Turkey and the rest of Europe, we condemn this latest massacre of 17 political activists, and the numerous cases of human rights violations committed by the Turkish state. We condemn the possible collaboration between the EU and the Turkish government in this massacre, and denounce all attempts to conceal or whitewash Turkey's bloody human rights record in order to remove hurdles and smooth the progress of its accession to Europe.

Indeed, in the arduous struggle against exploitation and oppression and the desire to build an imperialist and fascist free society, the progressive and democratic-loving people of Turkey owe it to themselves to fight for their democratic and social rights, and to call, righteously, for international solidarity for their resistance. That this latest crime against the people of Turkey has forged the unity of almost all anti-imperialist and progressive political groups in Turkey, is an inspiration to the global anti-imperialist movement to surge even further, forward.

The International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) supporting all such initiatives, invites all progressive and democratic anti-imperialist forces to condemn this massacre and welcomes and promotes the forging of unity of the people in the struggle against imperialism and all reaction across the world! ###

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