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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Solidarity with Syria & Turkey: A Red Review Special Edition

Communist and workers' parties around the world express solidarity with the people of Syria and Turkey and condemn ongoing sanctions. With statements from the KKE, WFTU, Canada, Chile, Swaziland, Belgium, South Africa and elsewhere.

Communist Party of Turkey relief efforts after the devastating earthquake in Turkey -- Image via Twitter

The death tolls from the utter, horrific devastation wrought by Monday's (February 6) 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks that hit Turkey and Syria stand now at 19,388 in Turkey and 3,377 in Syria and are expected to continue to rise.

In it daily report on the earthquake today (February 10) the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) notes that:

We are on the fourth day of the earthquake.
The affected region still lacks effective intervention by the central authority.
President Erdogan of AKP, his ministers, and advisors are visiting the affected regions in the presence of a media army they have brought along. The government is trying to present itself as being in control of the situation, and it is possible to see AFAD’s tent cities, construction equipment, and experts in the broadcasts from government-affiliated media outlets. Many days after the earthquake, however, and too little too late.
Furthermore, we are receiving heaps of information disproving this representation, from our volunteers, our teams in the field, and citizens contacting us regularly, day by day, hour by hour.

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), meanwhile, is joining a chorus of parties and groups around the world demanding the lifting of sanctions on Syria given the extreme humanitarian crisis it faces:

In a letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the MEPs of the KKE call for the immediate lifting of the blockade on Syria and the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Syria and Turkey.
The letter of the Party’s MEPs, Kostas Papadakis and Lefteris Nikolaou - Alavanos, reads as follows:
“After the unspeakable tragedy in Turkey and Syria, resulting to thousands of dead and missing people, our main task at the moment is to express immediate and multifaceted support to and solidarity with the affected people, both in Turkey and Syria.
Particularly the Syrian people are in dire need of immediate humanitarian aid, basic supplies and medicines. However, the EU-USA-NATO blockade, which accompanies their long-standing intervention and is being faced by the Syrian people, continues, despite the devastating earthquake, and hinders even the expression of solidarity. At this time, a major effort to provide material aid for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria, by trade unions and other mass organizations, is underway in our country, Greece, and in other countries.
We call upon the EU to immediately lift the unacceptable blockade and sanctions against Syria and ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Syria and Turkey.
On 8/2, speaking at the Greek parliament, N. Karathanasopoulos, parliamentary spokesperson of the KKE, called upon the Greek government to immediately lift all sanctions against Syria, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered without obstacles to the people affected by the earthquakes.

The massive earthquakes that have caused tens of thousands of deaths and injuries in Syria and Turkey, leveling homes, apartment buildings, hospitals, bridges, roads, and infrastructure, call out for the assistance and solidarity of the world’s government’s and peoples.
The Canadian government must respond by lifting the sanctions and the economic blockade against Syria which make the horrific consequences of two massive earthquakes and many aftershocks infinitely worse for the civilian population of Syria. Already victimized by a long war and years of sanctions by NATO countries including Canada, the people of Syria are dying, as international help is withheld from Syria, and focused only on Turkey.
Time is of the essence in Syria, as in Turkey, with many victims alive and entombed in collapsed buildings, with freezing winter weather shortening the lives of survivors, the injured and those still to be found. This is a humanitarian catastrophe of global proportions.
Instead of sanctions and blockade, Canada must send urgent aid and assistance to Syria, lift the sanctions, and call on the international community to do the same.

Many other Communist and workers' parties around the world are expressing their solidarity with the Syrian and Turkish people and calling for an end to sanctions. We look at the full or excerpts from a number of statements here.

The sanctions on Syria have been affecting the Syrian people for years now, resulting in a lack of fuel, electricity, medical supplies, and industrial machines that are essential to every country and nation for their daily life. The Syrian people had already suffered enough from the war and they deserve a chance to live freely and with dignity.

Today in light of this catastrophe, these sanctions must be lifted immediately, as they are affecting the search and rescue operation after the disastrous earthquake. The sanctions against Syria are prohibiting heavy machinery and medical supplies even food supplies from entering Syria and now, more than ever, they are necessary for the survival of tens of thousands, and for rescue operations of people that are still stuck under the debris of their own homes.

The WFTU demands the immediate withdrawal of the imperialist sanctions against Syria, to put an end to the barbaric and inhumane policies of blockades and embargos. These policies are killing people that are stuck under the debris, killing the injured with a lack of medical supplies, leaving tens of thousands in streets to face harsh weather conditions, and leaving hundreds of thousands without any usable infrastructure.

We stand beside the General Federation of Trade Unions of Syria and the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions and we support their struggle for the release of affected people. We once again call the Trade Unions and the workers all over the globe to express their practical solidarity and practical support through the launched campaigns to make less painful this huge disaster.

We express our full solidarity with the peoples of Turkey and Syria, who currently need urgent and coordinated international aid to rescue the missing persons and provide effective support to the people affected by the earthquake. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and our wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

It is once again demonstrated that despite the development of science and technology, and the great potential of our era for the protection of human life, all this is sacrificed on the altar of profits, big interests, military armaments and imperialist wars, for which the peoples pay dearly in every way.

Above all, it is proven that there is nothing that divides the peoples; on the contrary, they share the same sufferings and problems. That is why they must be united by the joint struggle against the system of exploitation and barbarity.

A great movement of solidarity with the peoples of Turkey and Syria arose from the first moment in Greece. The KKE called upon the Greek people to express their solidarity with the suffering peoples of Turkey and Syria by supporting the initiatives of the trade unions and the mass organizations. These initiatives include the collections of relief supplies, the participation in blood donations organized by the trade unions that rally in the All-Workers’ Militant Front (PAME) throughout the country, and the participation in the voluntary mission of doctors working in public hospitals and other healthcare workers.

At the same time, burning questions arise: Why do we suffer thousands of casualties in 2023, at a time when science and technology have provided us with the tools to accurately identify faults causing earthquakes and the areas most at risk; when instructions have been given for the safe building of houses, schools and hospitals, so that human lives are not put at risk?

In Greece, despite the KKE’s criticism against all bourgeois governments over the years, there is still no comprehensive plan for earthquake protection based on the protection of the popular strata. That is the main reason for the thousands of deaths after an earthquake.

This situation in Greece, in Turkey, in every capitalist country, is the result of a policy that treats earthquake protection measures as an obstacle to the profits of capital and its state. It is the result of a policy that determines the level of protection based on the interests of big business groups, the “budgetary margins”, and not based on the needs and safety of the popular families.

It is tragic to see the governments of Greece and Turkey providing billions for NATO armaments and squandering the people’s money on F-16s and frigates to strengthen NATO’s southeastern wing and the operational capability of the USA.

They have the audacity to say that they are doing it to protect their peoples, while at the same time they leave them exposed and unprotected, sometimes to earthquakes, sometimes to snow and floods. In fact, they use the excuse that “there is not enough money” for projects and state protection plans and that these exceed the “capacity of the economy”.

It is important that any form of assistance from other countries and international organisations must be focused on helping the people, the majority of whom are working-class and poor, without any conditionalities and attempts at usurping their national independence and capturing their domestic policy spaces. The people of Syria and Turkey must not be forced to give up their right to self-determination in exchange for the much-needed aid. This is a ploy often used by imperialist forces against other nations, especially when they are facing difficult situations. The SACP will oppose any such move whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.

The SACP calls upon the working-class across the world to continue to support the people of Syria and Turkey. Progressive forces in South Africa must also band together and send practical solidarity to the affected people, particularly the working-class and poor who need it the most.

Early Monday 6 February morning, a powerful earthquake struck south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria, followed by several aftershocks, including one measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale.

This disaster has already claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people. Tens of thousands have been injured and many people have lost everything and are homeless. The number of victims is too high and could have been lower, where as current scientific and technological developments technically allow the construction of safe buildings, prevention rules, the construction of hospitals, etc. In the current capitalist system, which places profit above all else, science and resources do not serve the protection of human life and the people must rely only on themselves and their revolutionary vanguard. We salute the work of our sister party the TKP which immediately organised solidarity brigades and is helping to pull the victims out of the rubble, distributing meals.

The Communist Party of Belgium wishes to express its full solidarity and condolences to the victims of the earthquake and to the people of Turkey and Syria as well as to all workers of Turkish, Kurdish and Syrian origin who live and work in Belgium.

The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) stands in solidarity with earthquake victims in both Syria and Turkey. The CPS conveys its solidarity with the families whose loved ones were lost and wishes speedy recovery for all injured.

The CPS salutes the efforts of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and the working class in mobilising rescue efforts as well as providing meaningful aid to those who need it. In this regard, the CPS calls for more support for the people of the two affected countries and ensure that help reaches even those in the coldest of places. The region is also faced by devastating cold weather, making rescue efforts more difficult.

The rebuilding process in both Syria and Turkey will be an arduous one. The CPS calls for more practical support with the people and the lifting of sanctions against Syria. Sanctions can never be an excuse for allowing the Syrian people to continue to be devastated by the earthquake and its consequences.

Dear comrades,

The CPB&M is expressing its solidarity to the people of Turkey and Syria in connection with the devastating earthquake, which has tragically affected both countries. As a result of this inmense catastrophe tens of thousands of citizens have lost their lives, were injured or became homeless. The CPB&M is in a permanent contact with the communist parties of Turkey and Syria, whose members and activists are taking since the very beginning an active part in the rescue operations and collection of the humanitarian aid. In cooperation with other partners, the CPB&M is organizing a humanitarian aid for the regions affected by the catasrophy. At the same time, the CPB&M has to bring into attention, that dispatching the humanitarian aid, especially for the people of Syria is shamefully obstacled not only by the occupation of the northern parts of the country by the troops of the USA and Turkey but as well by the unjustfull and illegal sanctions imposed on this country by the USA and European Union. For the reasons to face the impacts of this extensive humanitarian catastrophy, the CPB&M appeals for an immediate termination of the occupation of the Syrian territory by the alien troops and abolition of all the sanctions imposed on Syria.

To the Communist Party of Turkey-TKP:

The Communist Party of Chile sends its warmest greetings of brotherhood and solidarity to the Communist Party of Turkey-TKP at a time of such grief and sadness resulting from the devastating earthquake that devastated your country and much of the region.

We also express our deepest condolences to all the families of the victims and our wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured.

We have learned of the enormous efforts that your Party is making in all fields for the rescue, food, medication and everything else that the people of Turkey need at this time.

We also regret that while NATO, with US imperialism at its head, spends billions of dollars on the largest war machine after World War II, they make no effort to transfer these large sums of money for purposes of fighting for life against death.

We reiterate our profound expressions of solidarity with the TKP and all its militants and therefore with all the people of Turkey, who we are sure will be able to cope and rise from this great tragedy.

The Iraqi Communist Party has expressed the party's solidarity “with and with the Syrian and Turkish peoples, the citizens of the Iraqi Kurdistan region and all the victims of the horrific earthquake that occurred today early morning (6th February 2023)”. It has extended “deep condolences to the families of the earthquake victims and solidarity with those trapped under the rubble."

Comrade Hussein al-Najjar, member of the party’s Political Bureau, called on the Iraqi government to "provide assistance and send rescue teams to the affected areas, contribute to the efforts to rescue those trapped under the rubble and provide all possible assistance for this purpose."

He said, "Our Party supports the humanitarian efforts of rescue teams and volunteers and providing urgent aid and shelter. We all hope that the largest number of citizens in the affected areas will be rescued as soon as possible."

He also stressed the need for improving the seismic monitoring in Iraq to provide early warning to the citizens, while raising the level of readiness to confront natural disasters.

The Tudeh Party of Iran expresses its profound sorrow and extends its deepest sympathies upon the news of the huge earthquakes that have hit Türkiye and Syria,‎ taking the lives of thousands of people and causing immense destruction in both countries. It was with great sadness that we bore ‎witness to the shocking scenes of residential buildings collapsing and folding in tandem - even new buildings that ought to have been constructed according to earthquake-resistant standards, given the acute vulnerability of that geographical locale at the very intersection of three major tectonic plates.

The Iranian people are more than familiar with the devastation wrought by such earthquakes and the colossal hardship endured by the victims in the aftermath and often for many years thereafter. It was only on Sunday 29 January that the area of Khoy, in Iran's north-western province of West Azarbaijan, right on the border with Türkiye, was also hit by a huge earthquake following continuous seismic activity there since last autumn. Fortunately, the death toll was minimal by comparison though thousands of people were injured and left destitute, homeless, and at the mercy of a bitter winter.

These natural disasters are made all the worser by ongoing conflict and insecurity; corruption; governmental and official ineptitude, as well as the unfathomable obstruction and brinksmanship between those authorities whose primary focus should be on the emergency relief efforts.

The US-instituted blockade and sanctions in place regarding Syria over the last decade- which we condemn and call for the immediate removal of -must not be allowed to impede the emergency relief efforts or perturb otherwise capable and suitable agencies from becoming involved and lending their valuable assistance.

To all affiliated unions and friends of the WFTU

Dear Comrades,

The WFTU Solidarity statement with the people affected by the major earthquakes on the Turkish-Syrian border also includes a call to the affiliates of the WFTU to organize initiatives of solidarity and material support with the populations of the affected areas.

Given the magnitude of the humanitarian disaster, we consider it necessary and important that the demonstration of solidarity with people who are living in incredible misery and who are desperate, should be expressed not only morally but also in practice, through material support initiatives that will reach those in need as soon as possible.

The WFTU Secretariat calls the affiliated Unions and friends of our Federation to carry out national level initiatives for the collection of disaster relief; mainly the collection of medicines, blankets and clothes, food for babies and other essential items as well as financial aid which will be used for this purpose.

We inform our affiliates that they have to seek ways to channel material support directly to the affected people with a view to prompt and substantial support to the suffering peoples of Turkey and Syria.

The procedures for the direct, practical solidarity and support can be done in consultation with the WFTU affiliates in Turkey and Syria and also with WFTU affiliates in neighboring countries. For further information, assistance, and coordination you can contact the WFTU headquarters in Athens.

The Secretariat

In response to the tragic consequences of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, AKEL along with the mass organisations of the Popular Movement are launching today a campaign to collect essential materials and donations to help the earthquake victims.

We call on the Cypriot people to express their solidarity by supporting all efforts to help the earthquake victims.

Material essentials to be collected: Mattresses, blankets, winter clothes and shoes (in good condition), food baskets, foodstuffs, canned and baby milk, mats, personal hygiene items, kitchen utensils, detergents, diapers for disabled people and children, solar-powered torches, family tents, first aid kits, medicines (separate list is attached).

Collection sites: Central and district offices of PEO in all cities,

Offices of EDON Central Council (1, Andrea Papacosta str, Nicosia)

Bank account for donations:

11601G4415703 Greek Bank (PEO - Social Solidarity)

Information: 22589521

Daily updates from the TKP:

Other solidarity statements:



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