The call for boycott and concrete actions against Apartheid Israel rises among Turkish activists
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The call for boycott and concrete actions against Apartheid Israel rises among Turkish activists

In the last week, a series of boycott and solidarity actions across the country have galvanized Turkish support for the Palestinian and Lebanese struggle against Zionist crimes and occupation.

On August 10, the Platform for Solidarity for the Lebanese and Palestinian People staged an action to denounce the twinning between the Turkish city of Bursa and the Israeli city of Herzilia. Around 150 campaigners opened a banner that read, “Terrorist State, Leave the Middle East alone” and started a powerful march, waving Lebanese and Palestinian flags. The crowd chanted slogans like: “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine”, “Don’t be silent, shout out, all people are brothers”, “On the side of the resistance, not on the side of the occupiers”, “Close Incirlik US Air Force Base”, and “People of Lebanon and Palestine are not alone.”

The march ended in front of the local government to protest that the Bursa local government had declared Herzilia, as part of the criminal state of Israel, a sister city. The speaker said, “We can not accept to have a sister city relationship with the child murderers. We are calling the assembly dominated by the JDP (Islamic Justice Development Party). They should immediately convene and cancel the sister city relationship, should report this to Israel and announce this to the media.” The marchers then walked to the sign in front of the local government where Herzilia was shown as the sister city and covered the name “Herzillia” with black cardboard.

Also on August 10, the political prisoners in Izmir’s Kýrýklar prison started a 3-day hunger strike to protest the Israeli attack against the people of Lebanon and Palestine. The decision for the hunger strike was announced through the lawyers of the political prisoners. Condemning the attack, the prisoners wanted to offer their support to the Lebanese and the Palestinian people from within the prison walls.

In Istanbul, the workers of Bahçelievler town’s local government donated a day’s wage in a show of solidarity with the people of Lebanon. This act of solidarity by Turkish labor was announced in a ceremony that included the signing of a contract between the union and the local government of Bahçelievler. The workers announced that one of the requirements of being an organized force was to be on the side of the oppressed. One day’s wage will be deducted from the workers and will be sent to the region in Lebanon devastated by Israeli crimes.

On August 14, Artists of Ankara, in the capital of Turkey, protested Israel’s attacks against Lebanon in a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy. The artists gathered in front of the Israeli Embassy and emptied their ink bottles on the pavement and at the door of the embassy in protest. The crowd also opened a banner that read, “You will be defeated!” Artists chanted, “Down with Israel” and “Palestinians are not alone!” to the Israeli Embassy.

Poet Ahmet Telli, representing the artists, read a press release stating that Israel had no morals. “We are here today to bring our pens and the memory behind our pens, our ink to leave here at the Israeli Embassy.” The protesting artists left the banner at the embassy door and marched back through the streets of Ankara after the demonstration.

A simple popular response of Turkish shop owners has been the boycott of Israeli tourists. Placards bearing writings such as “Forbidden for Israelis – the child killers” appeared at the entrances of shops in Anniya, a tourist location in the south of Turkey, popular with tourists from Apartheid Israel.

While support for the struggle against the Zionist colonial project in Palestine is deeply rooted within the Turkish people, the state has long been one of Apartheid Israel’s staunchest supporters in the Middle East. Caving in to US pressure, Turkey’s military and commercial agreements are backing up the Occupation while “twinnings” push the public to normalize relations with the apartheid regime.

Turkish activists have orchestrated huge and sustained resistance to their country’s involvement in and support for the war against Iraq. The same organized resistance is crucial if the New Middle East project is to be resisted at its core: Palestine.