Last week, human rights groups reported that three Syrian refugees were burned alive in their sleep in a gruesome murder in Izmir, Turkey, on November 16. This barbaric act is the product of the ten-year NATO war in Syria and the atmosphere stirred up by the Turkish ruling class against millions of Syrian refugees who fled the war in Turkey.
Surprisingly, the fact that it was a murder was covered up for over a month and came to light after one of the families contacted the Refugee Media Association (MÃ¼lteci MedyasÄ±). It was only after that an investigation was opened to establish the circumstances of the fire. The attacker, Kemal Korukmaz, boasted to police that he carried out the attack after his arrest, telling them he worked for the Turkish Counterterrorism and Intelligence Agency (JÄ°TEM).
Deysem Siti, head of the Refugee Media Association, told the Evrensel daily: âOne of the families contacted me three days ago. They said the incident was a homicide, “adding,” They also said the police had not given them any information. We followed up to find out more about the incident … Although it was said that there was initially a fire from the stove, a camera recording showed that there had been an attack. .
Ahmed Al-Ali, 21, Mamoun Al-Nabhan, 23, and Mohammed Al-Bish, 17, worked without insurance at the Birlik Beton cement factory in Urla district and were trying to live in a salary below the hunger threshold.
Korkumaz came to the three workers’ room at night, sprayed them with fuel and burned them alive. Al-Ali and Al-Bish died two days later, while Al-Nabhan died after a painful week in hospital.
Further details point to a planned massacre. According to the joint statement of human rights groups, Korkumaz told another worker: âThis place will burn and these Syrians will die today.
Korukmaz was arrested after stabbing two Turkish citizens ten days after the murder. In his statement, Korukmaz confessed to the murders and claimed that he worked for JÄ°TEM, according to the daily Evrensel which had access to his confession.
JÄ°TEM was infamous for a large number of unsolved murders of civilians in the Kurdish region during the Turkish state‘s war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The state denied its existence for decades before Deputy Prime Minister BÃ¼lent Ecevit admitted to JÄ°TEM’s activities following the 1996 Susurluk scandal.
In his statement, Korukmaz said that while he was doing his compulsory military service in the 2000s, one of his commanders asked him to join JÄ°TEM. He accepts and participates in many operations. Korukmaz said that one day he found a note on his car saying “start your duty” and a few days later he found a second note saying “continue your duty”. Claiming that he had taken action with the third note saying ‘Start the cleanup’, Korukmaz said: ‘I understood this note to be’ cleanse Turkey from the Syrians’. “
Korukmaz’s account raises the question of state complicity in the killings of immigrants and refugees through the NATO alliance. In Germany, where the state-infiltrated neo-Nazi National Socialist Network (NSU) murdered at least 10 immigrants in Turkey, a neo-Nazi network planning to assassinate Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees, and including an individual identified as Franco A., appeared in 2017.
During the Izmir murder, a statement by Mamoun Al-Nabhan’s brother Ahmet Nabhan shows that the Turkish authorities deliberately covered up the murder.
Ahmet Nabhan said: âWe came to Turkey 5 years ago. My brother was 23 years old. While they slept in the factory where they worked, he [Korukmaz] poured diesel or gasoline, then burned them. My brother stayed in the hospital for a week after the incident and then passed away. More of his friends died a day later. We didn’t tell anyone at the time because the police asked us not to tell anyoneâ¦ I don’t know why the Turkish parties didn’t inform the press. The killer was buying stones from the same factory as us.
The Freedom Lawyers Association said the massacre, “although it took place on November 16, 2021, was masked by pressure on families.” He added: âIt is clear that this massacre is directly linked to the state’s refugee policy and rhetoric that serves to aggravate racism against refugees.
Meanwhile, a report is expected on whether Korukmaz, who was arrested and sent to prison, is mentally stable. Regardless of the orientation of Korukmaz’s mental health report, however, the responsibility of the political establishment for this attack does not disappear.
A rotten deal between the EU, Turkey and Greece in March 2016 made Greece the jailer of EU refugees and forced the government of President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan to ensure that refugees from war zones in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan do not travel to Europe. Additionally, Ankara aims to use refugees as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with NATO powers. It also oversees around 3.6 million refugees in Turkey, who are exploited without insurance and with wages below even the legal minimum wage.
The bourgeois opposition, led by the Kemalist People’s Republican Party (CHP) and the far-right Bon Party, is waging an anti-refugee campaign. They fuel anti-refugee chauvinism, boasting that if they come to power they will send refugees back to where they came from.
Amid an economic and social crisis that has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of this campaign, led by the entire political establishment, is to divide the working class and deflect tensions growing class in reactionary attacks against the most exploited layers of civil society. workers.
The developments confirmed the warnings of the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS). At the end of July, we wrote: âThis atmosphere of xenophobic lynching, particularly incited by the opposition parties and the pro-bourgeois media, paves the way for fascist attacks not only against the refugees but against the entire working class. Just days after the warning, a far-right crowd of hundreds took to the streets of Ankara, chanting anti-Syrian slogans. They threw stones at the homes of Syrian refugees while some shops were also ransacked and cars were set on fire.
A video released Tuesday by a fascist paramilitary group named Ataman Brotherhood indicates that the danger of the far right is increasing. In the video from this racist group, we see them chasing and beating an Afghan refugee in Istanbul. The group, which broadcasts videos of armed militias, flies a flag similar to that of the Fascist Party of the Nationalist Movement (MHP). Members of the group wave from the far-right Gray Wolves organization.
These developments are a serious warning. The working class and the youth must stand up for the refugees, as a decisive part of the defense of the entire working class against state-sponsored far-right violence.