By Nikos Mottas.
The visit of the Turkish President Erdogan in Greece has concluded. A lot of things were said in front of cameras and, certainly, even more behind closed doors. We could write about several conclusions regarding the undisputable upgrade of Ankara's assertions against Greece's sovereign rights, the unacceptable demand for the revision of the Treaty of Lausanne, the pretexts of President Erdogan regarding minorities, etc.
However, if we would like to summarize the very essense of Erdogan's visit, we must briefly- and clearly- point out the following:
- Both President Erdogan, as well as the Greek leadership, repeated in their public statements the (trite) wishes about “good neighborly relations”, “mutual respect”, “friendship” and “peace” between the two countries. All these are empty words, taking into account that within the framework of imperialism, within the framework of the NATO alliance – members of which are both countries – actual friendship and peace cannot exist. This is a given and multiple times proven in the passage of history truth. Therefore, with these words, Tsipras and Erdogan do not deceive each other, but they deceive together the Greek and Turkish people.
- Erdogan's visit took place in a period when both his government and the coalition government of SYRIZA-ANEL, are facing a series of internal problems. From its side, the AKP government faces serious social and political issues (e.g. Zarrab case, social polarization, inflation increase, devaluation of the Turkish lira, etc) and has every reason to try to disorient the popular masses from the actual problems. The- albeit temporary- change of the political agenda is also beneficial for the SYRIZA-ANEL government which, in the name of the “3rd evaluation”, crushes working-people's rights.
- The confrontation regarding the Treaty of Lausanne has overshadowed a very significant aspect of the meeting. This aspect has to do with the economic agreements and business deals between sections of the Greek and Turkish capital. Mr. Erdogan came to Greece as the representative of the strongest part of the Turkish bourgeois class, whose interests he wishes to promote. It is certain that the working people on both sides of the Aegean have nothing to gain from the business between Greek and Turkish capitalists. On the contrary, both governments in Athens and Ankara are moving towards an increasingly antipeople-reactionary way, enhancing, in one way or another, the exploitation of the working masses and the crush of labor rights.
- Both Tsipras and Erdogan are consciously lying and deceiving their people when they talk about supposed solutions to a series of issues (Cyprus, Aegean, Refugee waves, etc) within the framework of NATO and the EU. It has been proved, in the most explicit way, that these imperialist organisations do not consist part of whatever kind of solution but, on the contrary, they are integral part of the problem. It is therefore clear that within the Euroatlantic framework no issue can be solved for the benefit of the people, taking into account that these matters are inseparably linked to powerful inter-imperialist competitions, totally foreign to peoples' interests.
Given the above and on the background of the Greek government's dithyrambs about Erdogan's “historic visit”, we bring in our minds the words of the great communist poet Nazim Hikmet who, in August 1952, in a letter addressed to his “Greek brothers”, were talking about “Two Turkeys and two Greeces”. The real and the fake. The independent and the slavish one.
Today, there is the Turkey of Erdogan, AKP and the kemalist bourgeois opposition, but also the Turkey of the working people who are facing persecutions, repression and capitalist barbarity. Likewise, there is the Greece of Tsipras, Mitsotakis and the bourgeois parties, but also the Greece of the working-people's movement which resists to the strategy of the capital.
Today, there is the Turkey of a handful of monopolies- modern sultans- which are exploiting the wealth produced by the Turkish people, as well as the Turkey of the poor neighborhoods of Istanbul, of the labor unions, of the Turkish communists who struggle in very adverse conditions. On the other side of the Aegean, there the Greece of the wealthy large industrialists and shipowners, as well as the Greece of the workers, of the strikers, of the poor strata.
The actual meaning of the Greek-Turkish friendship will never be expressed by any Tsipras or Erdogan. This meaning was expressed, in a unique way, by the great Nazim Hikmet: “The people of Turkey and Greece give a totally different meaning to the Greek-Turkish friendship. For them, the friendship means a common struggle for the freedom of their homeland. For national independence, for the happiness, in order to be able to taste side by side in the fraternal table of friendship, the bread and the olives of their own country.”
Originally published in Greek in atexnos.gr.
* Nikos Mottas, a Phd student, is the editor-in-chief of In Defense of Communism.