11 April 2021

Attacks against solidarity with Kobane: the Suruç massacre of young socialists

A suicide attack killed at least 30 young socialists in Suruç in Urfa, the Turkish city near the Syrian border today.  The attack to the Amara Culture Center, where at least 300 members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Association (SGDF) were staying, was committed just before their departure to Kobane.

The young revolutionaries had departed from Istanbul, Kadikoy yesterday presenting themselves as the children of Gezi, the wave of protests that started in Istanbul in June 2013. They were going to participate in the reconstruction of Kobane as revolutionary socialist youth from the west of Turkey. They arrived in Suruç this morning.

 In a video that they released to publicize their campaign, a young socialist woman from  SGDF explains their plans as such:  We will plant 500 trees in the name of revolutionaries who were killed in the resistance against ISIS in Kobane. We will also plant fruit trees in the name of Berkin Elvan [who was killed during Gezi protests at the age of 15], reconstruct the war museum in Kobane, rebuild the library and nursery at the cultural center, build a play ground, and join the cleaning efforts in the city center of Kobane. They were carrying toys, book, clothes, and trees to plant.

 Solidarity efforts with Rojava have been continuously obstructed by the Turkish state. Last fall solidarity tents with refugees fleeing from ISIS were destroyed, and the human chain formed by peace activists have been gas bombed by the Turkish state. While there is a blockade for peace activists and NGOs that try to help reconstruct Kobane, there are various reports of ISIS militants passing the border.

 After months of struggle, life is getting reorganized in Rojava. Hundreds of volunteers from different lands take part in the reconstruction of the war-ridden cities. While the resisting peoples of Rojava call for solidarity campaigns and new links are being formed with the west and east of Turkey, between the years-long organized Kurdish movement and the wider leftist activists from all around Turkey, these kinds of attacks are far from being accidental.

 President Erdogan, while visiting Cyprus due to the 41st anniversary of the “Cyprus Peace Operation” a.k.a. Turkish invasion of the North Cyprus, condemned the attack and stated that they are following the case. However, it is very well known that this group of young socialists was being followed by the intelligence service from the very moment they departed from Kadikoy. Their bus was under surveillance. One month ago, the governor of Urfa, had requested the arrest of journalists who were posing questions on the presence of ISIS in the town.

These attacks are meant to break the solidarity ties between people in the west and east of Turkey. It is meant to scare every initiative of building organized solidarity effort across artificial borders. That is why security measures are only employed against people who try to give a hand to reconstruct Kobane, and not against the Islamist terrorists organized across borders.

 It is time for the international community to put pressure on the Turkish state to stop obstructing solidarity actions across borders, and to use its police force and surveillance technics not against peaceful social and political movements but against the Islamists terrorists nesting within its borders. Today protests have been organized in Turkey and abroad, in front of Turkish embassies. 

The young socialists were in their way to reconstruct Kobane and plant a memorial forest for fallen revolutionaries of Kobane. It is time to strengthen internationalist solidarity across borders and lift the banner. As the poet Ataol Behramoglu had written in 1974: 'the executioner woke up one night in his bed, he said, what a dilemma, my lord, the more I kill, the more they multiply. But I die off, the more I kill. '

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