The Second Mediterranean Conference of the Left has started today in Istanbul with the participation of more than 20 political parties
Today, Friday February the 20th, the II Mediterranean Conference, organized by the Party of the European Left (EL), along with five other parties of the southern Mediterranean, has begun in Istanbul bringing together more than twenty political parties of the left from the countries bounded by this great sea. The purpose of this conference, as noted by the vice-president of the EL, Maite Mola, is not only to analyse and discuss the situation the region and the different countries are living in, but also to reach a statement containing specific objectives to fulfil on Sunday.
The vice-president of the EL argued that "socialism cannot be built in a single country nor on only one side of the Mediterranean. For us, the anti-capitalist and internationalist left, there are no boundaries". She stressed that the point is "to build together the common solution". Mola added that there are no moments of poetry for the left, “but moments to work and to fight” and that is why, in addition to the political and economic studies, “a struggle in the streets that leads us to the unity of the left” is crucial. She remembered also the words of Samir Amin calling for “audacity, audacity and audacity”.
In this work towards unity, she announced the next Forum of Alternatives, which the EL is organizing in Paris for the last weekend of May, and the space for debate and confluence that the Summer University of the EL represents.
Maite Mola warned on the danger of focusing only on the crisis and set aside other problems that the left should never abandon. She recalled the oppression suffered by Cyprus and Palestine, and also the repression to which women are submitted. She emphasized the situation of the Western Sahara and the resistance of the Polisario during four decades, keeping in mind the United Nations recognition of their right to self-determination and the relative lack of implementation by the international community.
The victory of Syriza, and with it the victory of all the Greek people, standing against the austerity measures imposed by the Troika, has been a cross-cutting theme in the several speeches. "Syriza is also a victory for the Mediterranean, or even an international victory in which a left-wing Government is able to negotiate with the European neoliberal institutions the solution of the economic and social problems of the people". Once more Maite Mola called for an international support: "We have the duty to take to the streets to defend it".
During the presentation of the Conference, Bilge Seçkin Çetinkaya, co-Chair of the Turkish ÖDP (Freedom and Solidarity Party, member of the EL), spoke of the common imperialist attacks in the region and the hope that the victory of Syriza represents facing these attacks, along with those of advancing fascism and fundamentalism. She acknowledged that the triumph of Syriza has joined social movements with the political party and that this is the way to the success.
Ridvan Turan, Chairman of the SDP (Party of the Socialist Democracy), carried out a general analysis on the crisis and the way it has led to revolts and Arab spring, which began in Tunisia and spread like a wave. He didn’t forget the counter-revolutions and negative results, but also the positive fruits such as the recent victories of Syriza and Rojava. From the beginning the SDP Chairman made clear the necessity of working together: "We need to give a global response because the attack is global, indeed".
Turan explained, as Seçkin did, that the Turkish Government is intimidated, that its fears are not unfounded, and because of that if has increasing repression. "The AKP (the conservative party in the government) and Erdogan are pushing forward authoritarian policies with huge attacks to the class struggle, especially when trade unions touch the capital’s interests”.
On his side, Selahattin Demirtas the Deputy and co-Chair of the HDP (Democratic Party of the People) related the history of fights in Turkey with the ones in other European countries. Focusing on Turkey, he urged to unite all the struggles with the goal to create a large front against the AKP pointing to the elections of June as to an opportunity to change the reality of the country. He also considered the meaning of the Rojava revolution linking it to the necessity of working together in solidarity, thanks to several spaces of confluence including this Mediterranean Conference and the World Social Forum.