International Bulletin-I: "What Is Going On In Turkey?"
The issue of this week is “What is going on in Turkey?”
Two wings of political Islam in Turkey has made their way to the top of the power apparatus through different and long paths. One of them is Gülen Movement, a religious cult with an ambitious leader and the other is AKP of Erdoğan that is the revised version of Islamıc National Vision. The Gülen movement having strong ties with all former political powers, aims to overtake the government by cadre placement over the strategic positions in the state. Gülen cult which created success-oriented teachers “army” using deficits in education and dormitory systems with huge financial power, had its golden era in AKP period. Gülen movement, which was strong and influential in police department and jurisdiction, wiped the Kemalist cadre off from the high bureaucracy. In this period, the entirely deactivation of already weak bourgeois legal system by the political motives took place in Turkey. Lawlessness and arbitrary regime became the common reality. The nationalist Kemalist generals and high-ranking officers were dismissed from the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) with the help of the EU and USA. Gülen movement completed what Erdoğan could never have done on his own. These two powers had work hand in hand as a coalition in AKP period against the enemies: Kemalists, Kurds and Gezi protestors (the popular riot against AKP in June 2013). However, they started to fight tooth and nail after they defeated or downgrade their enemies about who was going to rule the country. Who will have the say? Erdoğan or Gülen?
Although the cadres of Gulen in police department and the jurisdiction revealed Erdoğan’s historic frauds, Erdoğan brazenly kept going and seized the opportunity to win the elections thanks to the preferences of the voters that had been sharpened due to the secular-conservative polarization. Afterwards, Erdoğan declared Gülen movement as a terrorist organization (by the name of FETÖ, the abbreviation of the leader’s first name). In addition, Gülen bureaucracy was dismissed; the properties of businesspersons were seized. After the landslide victory of Erdoğan in November 2015 election, Gülen had no other choice but to use his power in the army. Erdoğan had already been aware of this and he was planning a cleaning in TSK (Turkish Army). However, the two sides had to wait because of the ongoing urban wars in Kurdish cities. For instance, Adem Huduti who was leading the city wars as the top general, is currently imprisoned for being a FETO member and supporting the coup. Ultimately, the conflict between Gülen and Erdoğan became definite in the beginning of the summer when TSK won the city wars in Kurdish cities. While Erdoğan was preparing a huge cleaning in TSK, the Gülen finalized the coup date in the midst of July and took action.
Why did the coup fail?
The coup plotters had planned to step into action towards early morning. However, the MIT (National Intelligence Department) and the Chief of Defense found out the plan and started to countermove so the coup had to be done earlier than planned. The coup plotters joined the action with a very limited power. A significant amount of people in the army adopted the wait and see policy and some vital elements that were trusted made no moves. Thus, the coup doomed to fail. Erdoğan called his supporters to the streets from main stream media. AKP municipalities occupied the streets with heavy-duty vehicles. AKP governor stepped in very quickly into action, the police department backed AKP. Mosques made religious calls and announcements in favor of Erdoğan throughout the night and the next days. Consequently, the Gülenist junta, which could not manage to capture Erdoğan and made the coup with a few planes and tanks, was completely defeated.
Did USA has a finger on the coup?
The Gulenist Movement whose leader and center are in USA have strong connections with USA foreign policies all along. Therefore, USA cannot be consider as unaware of July 15 attempted coup. There is no doubt that USA leadership who is not pleased with Erdogan would be satisfied with a kind of “Sisi” rulership in Turkey. However, they failed. They have to cooperate with Erdogan and they have to bear Erdogan’s flirting with Putin.
State of Emergency: Oppression Period After Failed Coup
Even in the night of the coup Erdogan started to celebrate the chances after the failed coup by saying “This is a gift of God”. After the coup, with manifested State of Emergency approximately 100.000 public officers dismissed (most of them are teachers, polices, members of military and judiciary) on the ground that they are Gulenist. 60.000 public officers suspended. With the executive orders that cannot be prosecuted, the government made thousands of people’s lives miserable without any questioning, without taking any statement. Many of these people have no connection with Gulen Movement –even governmental resources accept it- State of Emergency was prolonged three more months. Thousands of people were arrested on the ground of being a member of terrorist Gulen sect, the leader cadres and important names had already fled abroad.
It was quite clear that the target of Erdogan was not only Gulenists. Erdogan by announcing he will start a war against the PKK partisan, he started to attack Kurdish opposition. In this context, on the one hand, approximately 10.000 teachers suspended by linking to PKK, on the other hand, government appointed trustees to lots of municipalities of HDP. Except that Kurdish media organs were closed down and the attacks against Kurdish movement are going on.
On the other hand, socialists are also the targets of these attacks. Especially, some of the socialist academicians who criticize the military operations in Turkish Kurdistan that cause the destruction of cities, were dismissed. They received death threat and rest of them have to live with the threat of dismissal.
On the one side, state of emergency creates the favorable situation to attack worker’s rights. Rental worker practice or the attacks like the abolition of the job security of public officers passed into life. Working class does not have the organized power to resist against these laws.
Media which is very effective on the creation of public opinion is almost under the control of Erdogan completely. Contrarian voices has a place in social media yet thousands of salaried AK-trolls (the social media users of AKP) are making campaigns.
Erdogan wants to deceive society with new Ottoman deliriums and Islamist-Turkist propaganda. While Erdogan follows a pitiless policy against Kurds and socialists both in Turkey and in Rojava, the reason for being a separate party of MHP (fascist party) does not exist anymore.
Inside MHP, Meral Akşener who has much more potential electorally and has the ability to become a leader of the party and a danger for Erdogan was kicked out of the party with coup excuse. Therefore, existing MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli pays back by opening presidency path to Erdogan. Most likely, referendum will come up in the next spring for voting presidency.
The Position of Social Opposition
While the Islamist and fascist powers show up in the streets, the rightist atmosphere is hegemon in the country. Erdogan who became the leader of nationalism organize a powerful chauvinist campaign via media. The existence of TSK in Iraq, and the war against PKK, and the invasion of Syria are presented as the realization of Neo-Ottoman dream. Under this circumstance, it is possible to say that while leftist-socialist power’s activities lessened, pessimism became widespread. On the other hand, the remarkable oppression of state creates pressure on socialist left.
After the June 7th elections PKK started armed campaign and HDP lost the effect in political struggle. The mass struggle against Kurdish movement within the context of state of emergency cannot be created. As long as the war continue in Kurdistan, the rebound of HDP is not possible.
Some of the socialist organizations -particularly SEP (Socialist Laborers Party)– have a stubborn attitude about the doing political activities in the period of state of emergency. Hence, the ones who struggle in the darkness and confront risks and oppression, have a respectable position among anti-AKP people.
Our Party, SEP continues to organize the “No to State of Emergency” campaign in many cities of Turkey. City centers, working class areas, universities are the focus on this campaign. SEP with these energetic activities continues to be more supported from day to day.