On Sunday, May 15, activists from the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and Communist Youth of Turkey (TKP) organized a protest in Adana, demanding the ouster of NATO and the US military from the Incirlik air base in the city. The protest march was blocked by riot police before it reached the air base. The protesters asserted that they will not leave Turkey to imperialists and colonizers. From May 12 to May 15, the TKP organized anti-imperialist meetings in the cities of Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara and Adana, in which delegates from the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also participated.
Turkey has been a member of the NATO alliance since 1952. Turkey serves as NATO’s eastern anchor with reportedly around 24 operational facilities of NATO and the US military. The Incirlik base, located east of Adana, is an important regional logistical air base of the alliance. The Izmir air station (oldest NATO base in Turkey), Sile air base, Konya base, Balikesir air base, the NATO facility in Ankara, Combined Air Operations Center-6 (CAOC-6) in Eskisehir, NATO’s Air Component Command Headquarters in Izmir, and NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps-headquarters in Istanbul are some of the military bases in Turkey which facilitate NATO-US operations in the region. Progressive sections across the world, including in Turkey, hold NATO responsible for the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict into a full-fledged war.
In its statement following the anti-NATO march on May 15, the TKG said, “We will continue the struggle for anti-imperialism, patriotism and enlightenment, we will disrupt the dirty bargains of imperialism and we will establish an independent, secular, socialist Turkey.”
Earlier in February, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the accession of Turkey and Greece to NATO, the TKP and KKE issued a joint statement saying, “we are consolidating our common struggle against imperialist wars, against NATO and its plans, against capitalist barbarism, and for a socialist-communist society.”
Currently, Turkey and Greece are engaged in rivalry for dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean. They are at loggerheads over the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus and the issue of the flow of refugees from Turkey to the Aegean islands of Greece. The communists and other progressive sections in both the countries have warned on multiple occasions that NATO has been using the conflict situation in the region for further militarization of the region.