“Obama Wants Soldiers for Afghanistan, Not Peace”
Mater from the Global Peace and Justice Coalition believes that NATO should be disbanded. He adds, “Obama is sending 17,000 soldiers to Afghanistan. He is not bringing peace.”
“We believe that the real reason for this visit is to obtain the support of Turkey, which is in a strategically important position for the intervention in Afghanistan.”
Tayfun Mater of the Global Peace and Justice Coalition (Küresel BAK) interprets the arrival of US President Barack Obama in Turkey thus.
“No message of peace”
“Obama is saying that the US will withdraw from Iraq, but he is planning for more involvement in Afghanistan. The new US President is not keeping his word of offering something new to global peace.”
On Monday evening at 7 pm (6 April), members of the coalition gathered in front of the Galatasaray High School in Beyoğlu, central Istanbul, to protest against Obama’s visit.
“Cold War has ended – so should NATO”
The coalition has also protested against the continuing existence of NATO in its sixtieth year. Mater supports the closure of the organisation:
“We object to the fact that NATO has gone totally beyond its initial aim when it was founded. The organisation is a product of the Cold War. When that period ended and its rival organisation, the Warsaw Pact, disbanded, NATO should also have been closed.”
“However,” so Mater, “instead of closing, NATO has added more than 25 new members and has become the largest and most aggressive military power in the world.”
“The US have not got what it wanted in Iraq, and public opinion is also forcing them to withdraw.”
Mater argues that withdrawal was also on the agenda of the previous administration of George Bush.
“Obama has brought withdrawal from Iraq onto the agenda, but one of his first orders has been to move 17,000 soldiers to Afghanistan. He wants all NATO member states to support the US. This shows that there has been no change in the aggressive politics of the US.”
Mater adds, “No one should be fooled by the withdrawal from Iraq. It will take years until the bases are dismantled. But the real war is now shifting towards Afghanistan.”
The anti-NATO protest organised in Kadıköy on 4 April was less crowded than in previous years. Mater says that this has nothing to do with sympathy people feel for Obama, but rather with the fact that civil action has weakened since 1 March 2003, when parliament refused to send Turkish soldiers to Iraq or allow the US to use Turkish air space for its attacks in Iraq.
Mater concedes that Obama has provoked fewer protests than Bush would have, but believes that there has been a general decline in the mass movements of pacifists and the left. (BÇ/AG)