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Other translations from the Turkish opposition press on Israel’s offensive against Gaza

Other sample press translations from Turkish to English

The following article appeared in Evrensel on 27 November 2023. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

Original article:

Those who say, “Muslim’s are being killed” are not abandoning their cooperation with Israel
Ahmet Akarsu

“The boycott of Israeli goods takes the form of action contrived to keep the sensitivities of the working masses from turning into a real reaction.”

A four-day ceasefire has been declared following an exchange of hostages between Israel and Hamas, with the death toll in Israel’s assault on Palestine having exceeded 14,000. Since the first day, on which the USA and Europe declared its open support for Israel, in Turkey the AKP government has limited its stance to heroics. In Turkey, where reciprocal agreements with Israel have not been cancelled, government-related circles, most notably the AKP Youth Branches, are staging such actions as cafeteria boycotts and shunning Israeli-origin goods.


As throughout the country, there are pickets in front of Starbucks cafeterias in Kayseri. With the refrain, “Don’t get your drinks there; we’re handing out coffee, too” rising in Cumhuriyet Square, what lends an odd and tragicomical aspect to the affair is people buying and pouring away cola to boycott Israel!

While the meaning and significance of a boycott lies in enabling the people to apply their own sanctions with the added aim of criticizing the ruling government’s policies, in practice it does no more than play into the hands of Erdoğan and the AKP. The boycott of Israeli goods takes the form of action contrived to keep the sensitivities of the working masses from turning into a real reaction. It is an equally visible truth that asking Turkey to distance itself from Israel is something that is far from the wishes of Erdoğan and the AKP. In fact, these calls for boycotts have brought the genuine working masses to the point of polarization.


A more striking example: A group of workers in Kayseri leave work and go to the Migros owned by Kayseri-native Tuncay Özilhan searching for discounted items. Noticing certain goods to be discounted, they ask Migros workers why these goods are discounted to be told by the Migros workers that Israeli goods are discounted. Washing powder has fallen from 400-odd lira to 200-odd lira. The workers have a protracted discussion among themselves as to whether or not to buy. In the end, the money in their pockets speaks and the workers decide to buy the product. Examining the goods, they say, “How few domestic Turkish products there are.”

Capitalists make profits of all kinds and add them to their earnings. In the first place, what’s all this about selling Israeli goods at a discount? Doesn’t this result in more being purchased? Secondly, doesn’t this mean we have just been paying a high price for them given that these goods are also being sold at such prices? Don’t those who are making discounts saying, “Let Israeli goods sell out fast and we won’t sell them again” and Coca-Cola’s Turkish partner have the same name? Tuncay Özilhan, that is the Anadolu Group. Capitalists will stoop to all means and methods to deceive. In August Coca-Cola, whose partnership in Turkey is within the Anadolu Group, was given 590 million in incentives. It is the same capitalist who is selling Israeli goods at a discount, who is Coca-Cola’s Turkish partner and who is receiving incentives from the state.


Most workplaces in the furniture and metal sector in Kayseri manufacture for Israel. We discuss Israel’s genocide among workers in Kayseri. Curses are on everyone’s lips but refrains of, ”There’s nothing we can do” ring out just as strongly. There are those who say, ”Israel’s a powerful country and there’s nothing Turkey can do.” Just as those who say, ”We’ll go to Gaza and die.” There are fewer than before who say, ”Erdoğan’s standing up to Israel,” but many say, ”Erdoğan’s moving forward sensibly.” Quite a few workers doubt the sincerity of Turkey’s stance towards Israel, just as quite a few say, “Our Muslim brothers are being massacred in Palestine so let’s fight, too.” A worker at a metal plant that manufactures for Israel asks, ”Our boss is one of the religious crowd. You know, they say religion is lived as a whole and he’s one of those. Everyone’s told that Muslims are dying so why doesn’t he break his ties with Israel? Bosses always earn from wherever there’s chaos.”

On the other hand, a worker employed in the military sector in Kayseri says, ”We”re told that the bombed Indonesian Hospital in Gaza has recently been struck by tanks. This comes with the bitter pill that the maintenance and repair and modernization of these tanks was done in Kayseri in past years.”


A metal worker employed at a small workplace says he tries to explain to his co-workers that Erdoğan, capitalists and imperialists are insincere and are consumed with nothing other than their own interests. He states that all the workers laugh and are lost for a reply when he says the state gives incentives to Tuncay Özilhan. Arguing that no support in a real sense is being given to Palestine, the worker says, “Social media is so influential that most workers think that Erdoğan’s against Israel in one way or another.” The same metal worker says suspicion is creeping in to a degree even among workers who blindly support Erdoğan and says the thought “This is what Erdoğan said, but perhaps...” is spreading. By way of reason, he points to comparisons with speeches he made in the past. He speaks of a need for the facts to be set out and highlighted more and for the contradictions to be exposed among the working class.“

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton