‘Arab Fall’ warning at Socialist International

‘Arab Fall’ warning at Socialist International

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Arab Fall’ warning at Socialist International

Kılıçdaroğlu (R) and Papandreou (C) attends the Socialist International. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The wave of movements across the Arab world known as the “Arab Spring” has become an “Arab Fall,” Turkey’s main opposition chief has said, adding that the region’s workers were facing a new type of colonialism with the changes.

“The Arab Spring has given way to cold winds and uncertainties,” Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said March 23 in Istanbul during a meeting of the Socialist International Special Committee on the Arab World. “The Arab proletariat, who have been exploited both by their own dictators and foreign forces for many years, are threatened with a new wave of exploitation today.”
The CHP leader also issued a call to fight back against such colonialism. “We shouldn’t allow the Arab Spring to be misused by some circles in order to create new forms of imperialism in the region; we should raise our voices against this,” he said.

The meeting hosted by the CHP brought together leaders and representatives of the Socialist International’s (SI) member parties and members of democratic and progressive movements from the region, including SI President and former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, as well as SI Secretary-General Luis Ayala. 

In his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu warned that the Arab Spring would not necessarily lead to democratic regimes. “Western countries are working to create a ‘moderate Islamic model’ and ‘a line of moderate Islamic countries’ against radical Islam, which they see as a nightmare for themselves. But I am sure none of the capitalist governments will care how democratic the new regimes are when the riches of the Arab world are on the table,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

Syrian National Council calls for full support from CHP

Members of the Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Council, also attended the meeting, with council member Mohammed Sarmini calling on Kılıçdaroğlu’s party to give its full support to the Syrian people. 

“We call on the leader of the CHP for support, and ask that he exercise his power with the government. We urge you to give your full support to the people of Syria. We need to get humanitarian aid and help the wounded travel to other countries for treatment. We expect some practical concrete resolutions regarding Syria from the international community,” Sarmini said. 

Sarmini said there were some economic sanctions in place against the Syrian regime but noted that the sanctions had yet to bear fruit. “Russia doesn’t care that people are dying in Syria. We need to create a way for humanitarian aid to reach the Syrians. We have to use informal ways to move goods into Syria. There is still no official aid reaching the Syrian people.” 

SI may send special delegation to Syria

Speaking during the meeting, Papandreou offered to send a SI delegation to Syria for the sake of the Syrian people. 

“We need to increase the pressure on the Syrian regime to resolve this crisis in a peaceful way. We fully support the efforts of the United Nations and the Arab League. Full access should be provided for humanitarian aid. Would it be useful for the Syrian people if we were to send a delegation to Syria?” Papandreou said.

Former ambassador and CHP Deputy Chairman Faruk Loğoğlu said he supported the idea of sending a special delegation to Syria. “SI should send a delegation to Syria. Such a delegation won’t legitimize the regime, but it would probably put more pressure on the regime,” he said. 

Members of the opposition Syrian council, however, dismissed the idea of a special SI delegation to Syria, saying it would be manipulated by Damascus. 

“If such a delegation is sent to Syria, they will have to be in touch with Syrian officials, and they won’t be able to talk to the revolutionaries. They will have no freedom of movement,” one member said.

“[The SI] should try to make greater contact with opposition leaders in Syria.”