Afrin Operation is an offence on the whole region
At the Afrin Operation, bullets hit not only the soldiers at the front but also the population and the working class behind the lines.
The military operation targeting Afrin was met with jubilation by the capitalist media. As if it was the news that they have been anticipating for years!
However, the fact that it is called ‘Operation Olive branch’ doesn’t mean that the warplanes, guns and cannons are shooting olive branches. Neither is the aim to establish the peace that the olive branch represents but to devastate identified targets with bombs and bullets of greatest impact.
With the advance of the ground offensive, it has been stated that a ‘safe zone’ that reaches 30 kilometres into Turkey will be established. This points to a continuation of war and sustained military occupation of Afrin.
Using military terminology, this is a ‘war’. The statements by the General Staff or official representatives that “civilians are not targeted; we only hit targets that represent a threat to our national security” are of course political in nature. Considering the situation in the Middle East, the bombing of Afrin is an attack not only on Afrin but, as an intervention that intensifies regional tensions, a strike on attempts to find a political solution to the Syria issue and the attempts to put forward demands for peace in the region.
THE AFRIN OPERATION ALSO HAS ‘DOMESTIC’ TARGETS
At first, it seems that the war is being fought at the frontline; however, bullets hit not only the soldiers at the front but also the population and the working class behind the lines. This damage manifests as ideological and political aggravation (ethnic-sectarian differences) and as the economic bill of the war!
Especially if one of the sides is significant for a large part of your domestic population, it gains the character also of a ‘civil war’.
Thus, despite the Afrin offensive seeming to be a confrontation between Turkey and external forces, the fact that the population on both sides of the border are extensions of the same ethnic, religious and social structure turns it into a ‘domestic’ issue. Considering Turkey is home to 20 million Kurds, and those one thousand kilometres of the Syrian and Iraqi border is lined with Kurds, you can see why this offence does not only target Afrin.
Hence, to claim that: the Afrin offensive will increase tensions around the Kurdish issue; deepen the Kurdish-Turkish split, and widen the base for provocations of racist-chauvenist-militarist foci will not be an exaggeration.
SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IN THE REGION
In short, the offensive of the last few days in Afrin:
• Made it harder for efforts to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
• Amplified the problems faced in the rebuilding of Iraq post-IS.
• Dented the attempts for peace and the hopes for the start of a relatively stable period.
• Made it harder to take peaceful steps in the region towards solving the Kurdish issue.
• Turkish use of military force to achieve its own ambitions in the region paved the way for Russia and the US to plant and present themselves as ‘indispensable for peace’ in the region.
• Made a Kurdish-Turkish split - and the possibility of more developments that will provoke this - more likely than previously.
• As well as adding a ‘war footing’ to the reasons for continued State of Emergency (OHAL), it also provided the opportunity for a new excuse to reduce the solution of the Kurdish issue down to a ‘war with terror’. Furthermore, the ‘war footing’ will give the Erdoğan-Bahçeli alliance the upper hand and turn it into a basis for the building of the ‘one-party, one-man regime’; at the least, it increases the possibility of them to turn it into an opportunity.
• This offensive, dragging Turkey to the centre of the quagmire of the Middle East, and the new military measures Turkey will introduce in relation to it, will create new and heavy burdens for the Turkish economy. It goes without saying that the working class will be made to pay this bill.
In short, the offensive on Afrin will not be limited to Afrin.
Beyond the President’s statement to “continue on to Menjib and the east of Euphrates”, the consequences of the offensive carry the possibility to ‘snowball’ and even go beyond the aims Erdoğan stated. Therefore, this offence should not be seen as one that started and to a great extent ended ‘on the field’, like the ‘Euphrates Shield’ before it.
And this would mean that the peace effort in the region and the struggle for democracy in Turkey will be further advanced.