TIP Members Attack SOLDER in Turkey: Violence Within the Left Must Stop!

On May 29, a student group of thousands, including members of SOLDER (the newly formed Socialist Democracy Collective Association), to which our comrades also belong to, was holding an event at the DEVRİM (Revolution) Stadium at Middle East Technical University (METU). This is a revolutionary memory site in the country with a longstanding tradition, where the rectorate had prohibited events for many years. The de facto event was named “We are defending the REVOLUTION.”

While SOLDER youth members were present in the area with their insignia, they faced verbal and physical attacks from students affiliated with the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), at least two of whom are members of Party Assembly. There was no prior fighting or any other incident before our comrades faced the attack. We do not know the reason behind this aggressive behavior, but we believe the main factor is that some members had left TİP to join SOLDER. Subsequently, the threats and insults against SOLDER members, including our comrades, continued on Twitter by TİP-affiliated people. Despite four days passing since the incident, the Workers’ Party of Turkey has yet to make a statement on the matter.

TİP is one of the biggest forces of the Left in Turkey, with thousands of members, and has the duty to denounce these types of unacceptable practices, which weaken the Left.

Below, we share the statement by SOLDER youth members describing the events:

TO THE REVOLUTIONARIES:

THE ATTACK BY THE WORKERS’ PARTY OF TURKEY CANNOT STOP US. WE CALL ON EVERYONE TO STAND AGAINST THIS TYRANNY AND JOIN IN REVOLUTIONARY SOLIDARITY

During the Revolution March, organized together by the communities and youth organizations within METU, we were attacked by a group calling themselves TİP’li Öğrenciler (Students of the Workers’ Party of Turkey).

On May 29th, while participating in the “Revolution March” with our SOLDER-GENÇ uniforms, our comrades were threatened by members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey during the gathering. Members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey showed no hesitation in violating the safe space of our comrades, and as a reflection of their aggressive and arrogant attitude, they hurled threats such as “We won’t let you march here with that uniform,” and “You came in white uniforms, you’ll return in red,” attempting to impose verbal and psychological violence on our comrades.

In an area where other revolutionary organisations had also unfurled their banners and were present in their uniforms, our comrades refused to remove their uniforms despite the threats from members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey. Consequently, members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey resorted to physical violence, tearing the uniforms off the SOLDER-GENÇ members, including women and LGBTQ+ comrades.

Following the incident, our comrades met with members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey who were part of the Action Committee. During the meeting, it was conveyed to our comrades that there was no sense of “comradeship” towards SOLDER-GENÇ members, and that the uniforms had been thrown under a tree in a forest area and could be retrieved from there.

Maintaining their composure in the face of the attack, our comrades stated that they were present as part of a revolutionary struggle and that the attack was contrary to the tradition of solidarity and comradeship upon which METU’s history is built. A comrade from the Students of the Workers’ Party of Turkey offered to retrieve the uniforms from where they had been discarded but was then warned by the attackers. Our comrades, who were extremely careful not to engage in any retaliatory actions that would foster intra-left violence and animosity, were instead stalled with statements like “We’ll hold a meeting with you later, we’ll discuss this issue then.”

After our comrades communicated the situation to the METU Festivals and Revolution March Action Committee, the students from the Workers’ Party of Turkey returned the torn uniforms.

Had we responded in kind, disregarding our revolutionary responsibility, like the Students of the Workers’ Party of Turkey, this attack could have cast a shadow over the Revolution March. In our view, this attack was made not only against the tradition of METU, which has become a symbol of Turkey’s revolutionary stance, but also against the Action Committee and the entire Left. In this incident, we saw that the members of the Workers’ Party of Turkey, who dared to attack others on the Left, continue on their path with a problematic belief that does not recognize anyone but themselves as revolutionaries. Our stance is clear: we will continue to stand against intra-left violence. As revolutionary women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and students, we will defend our safe spaces. As SOLDER-GENÇ, we will continue to pursue our struggle, grown through solidarity, using democratic methods. We expect the same attitude from the Workers’ Party of Turkey.

Our call to all revolutionary organisations: Do not ignore the attack on our comrades from SOLDER-GENÇ at METU. We have demonstrated our revolutionary stance in the field. Defending the REVOLUTION is also defending revolutionary solidarity. Let’s show our stance against intra-left violence that undermines revolutionary solidarity and particularly targets women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

SOLDER-GENÇ

The DEVRİM (Revolution) Stadium takes its name from the inscription on its steps which was written by the ‘68 generation and still, students write by using candles the reflection of the same inscription on the grass in every spring.

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