The Party of the European Left organised a conference titled “Another Middle East is Possible” in Istanbul on 19 and 20 December 2008 with the participation of EL member parties and other partner organisations.
The conference was held at a historic moment when those who are victims of globalisation at large, the unemployed, workers, farmers and agricultural producers, pensioners, women and young people, and all those struggling for democracy, peace, ecology and freedoms are encountering the same problems and expressing the same demands. This is why this conference is of great importance in furthering the solidarity and developing the common struggle between the forces of democracy and labour in the region and within the European Left.
At present the imperialist powers are trying to reshape the Middle-Eastern geography in a top-to-bottom approach and causing wide sections of the population to pay a heavy price for this. As a result of the struggle for their share of energy resources of the region they have caused the peoples of the Middle East to be confronted to imperialist aggression, occupation and domination.
Faced with this situation it is necessary to reiterate that a multi-cultural democratic Middle East can only be brought about through a bottom-up struggle and the free will of the communities and peoples of the region.
We can see today that the global crisis is causing the masses to turn towards the left and to heed the left’s theses on the solutions to social and political questions. The need for a global struggle against the global crisis is openly making itself felt. The forces of democracy and labour of the Middle East are an inseparable part of this global struggle with their spirit of solidarity and their will to wage a common struggle.
These forces are committed to waging an unwavering struggle against all kinds of militarist aggression, as well as against all nationalist, conservative, mono-cultural, militarist and anti-democratic stands, which strive to obstruct the democratisation process.
- The military occupation of the foreign troops under the leadership of the USA in the region, and first and foremost in Iraq and in Afghanistan, should be halted. The international community should provide all the support necessary to enable the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan to establish democracy in their countries in a non-militarist manner and through political solutions, which are in conformity with international law and human rights.
- It is not possible to speak of peace and stability in the Middle East unless enduring solutions are found to the problems experienced there. The most important pre-condition for durable solutions to the problems of the region is to recognise and implement the right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state which enjoys the same rights as Israel and which can develop peaceful relations with its neighbour. The military occupation of Palestinian territory must come to an end, the siege of Gaza causing so much human tragedy should be lifted and the “wall” built by Israel should be torn down.
- The enmity against Iran should come to an end and efforts should be made to seek solutions through political negotiations by offering positive approaches instead of threats.
- The Cyprus issue seems to have evolved towards a hope-lifting phase thanks to the official negotiations and positive political climate between the two communities. The negotiations held between the leaders of the two communities can and should enable a bi-communal, bi-zonal federative political solution of political equality on the basis of the UN Security Council. Confidence-building measures on the path to a solution will contribute to the rapprochement between the two communities and accelerate the process. This is why it is all the more important to implement these measures immediately.
- Turkey should take the necessary political measures that will ensure democracy and human rights for women and men and make democratisation a reality. The Kurdish question in this country is not one of law and order; neither can it be solved through judicial and military measures. The question concerns the whole Turkish society. Its solution lies in democratisation and tolerance, in respecting different cultures and in furthering equal relations amongst citizens, in strengthening the will to live together on equal terms and in putting an end to violence.
We as the forces that defend labour, peace and democracy are aware that solutions to this seemingly problem-ridden region of the Middle East can be found. We firmly believe that the solution lies only in the free will of peoples and communities.
It is with this awareness and conviction that we have united our forces and stood side by side to express the following objectives:
• Wage a global struggle against the global crisis;
• Find a democratic, political and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question;
• Say no to all forms of militarist aggression;
• Defend the liberation of the Palestinian people. Therefore we demand the dismantling of the Israeli settlements, the demolition of the apartheid wall and the recognition of the Palestinian refugees’ right to return in accordance with the UN resolution 194. In accordance with UN resolutions we further demand the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. We do not accept that Israel is destroying projects of reconstruction in Palestine and therefore we demand a guarantee from Israel not to do so;
• Say no to Israeli aggression and policies of occupation in Lebanon;
• Create an ecological and non-nuclear Middle East;
• Remove all foreign bases and nuclear weapons from the Middle East and the Mediterranean,
• Defend a unified, bi-zonal, federative Republic of Cyprus based on political equality;
• Defend ecological balance and peace in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions;
• Say that Iran should not become another Iraq. We support the daily struggles for democracy of women, students, workers and their trade unions and we condemn the imprisonment of their leaders and supporters;
• Encourage all the Middle East countries to work together on a common security concept based on the balance of interests instead of military confrontation.
We will strive, as we have done in the past, to continue our unswerving struggle, to develop our relations of solidarity with the forces of labour and democracy and to strengthen our common struggle.
Istanbul, 20 December 2008