The following is a DHKC document on fascism in Turkey, aimed at contributing to discussions on this subject. It was presented at the PTB (Workers’ Party of Belgium) International Communist Seminar this year (1998).
When fascism is mentioned, what comes to mind are images of massacre, tortures, blood and tears. But these are not all that fascism is about. Fascism is not only about the cities which were wiped out by atomic bombs and the thousands of people who were burnt in crematoria. Fascism is not only about the students who are beaten by fascists, whether the latter are in uniform or in civilian clothes. Nor is it only about those who were killed or maimed by torture. Certainly fascism is not simply about disappearances, massacres, torture and prisons.
We come across the bloody face of fascism so often and we are well acquainted with it. This encounter happens sometimes through television, newspapers, books, films and on other occasions as a part of everyday life. For example, it is always at close range in the schools, the factories, the shantytowns, the streets and in the villages where the struggle is at its hottest. Each time these encounters happen our hearts become full of sorrow, hatred, rebellion and a desire for justice.
Yes, fascism is a blackness which engulfs the peoples of the world in blood and sorrow. It is a disgrace marring the entire history of humanity, so that it is the summit of a tyranny which has continued over centuries. The reality of fascism, which is forced on the peoples in the interests of a handful of individuals, has taken various shapes and forms starting in the early 1900s and continuing up to the present.
We encounter this reality sometimes in the form of imperialist countries like the USA, Germany, Italy, France and sometimes in the form of the Susurluk state. Sometimes we come across it in the shape of Hitler, Catli, Cakici (fascist-mafia chiefs) or at other times Pinochet, Zia-ul Haq or Evren (head of 1980 military coup, the Pinochet of Turkey). Sometimes they take the form of the mafia, police, military, MIT (National Intelligence Organisation), JITEM (Gendarmerie Anti-Terror Intelligence), and sometimes Ford, ITT, Sabanci and Koc (leading collaborationist monopolies in Turkey). And each time we witness that the tyranny of fascism and the regime of exploitation are connected to each other as if by an umbilical cord. Today in our country, fascism as concretised in the Catlis and Cakicis, that is, in the form of the Susurluk state has been a problem of our people for years. But this is not fate. It is merely an ongoing reality. In order to defeat fascism, we need to know what it is by taking into account the conditions.
SO WHAT IS FASCISM?
Fascism: is the repressive dictatorship of the most reactionary, chauvinist, aggressive, murderous section of the monopolist bourgeoisie. Now we will try to explain this definition through our own experiences. The first thing that we realise through this definition is that fascism is a form of rule. Fascism came into being during the imperialist era, which is the uppermost and final stage of capitalism. It is the most reactionary and chauvinist form of dictatorship. What does this mean?
Chauvinism in its essence is the policy of making people slaughter one another. One of the most striking examples of the chauvinism of fascism took place in our country in 1978 – in the Maras massacre. This massacre was engraved on the minds of our people and has become the clearest description of the reality of fascism.
The Sunni people in Maras were stirred up against the Alevi people and many were savagely slaughtered under the supervision of fascists. The message that we have to derive from this example is that the system uses the policy of chauvinism to incite hatred between sections of the people, such as Alevis vs. Sunnis, Turks vs. Kurds, manual workers vs. office workers, supporters of secularism vs. supporters of Sharia, or even fans of rival football teams.
Despite the fact that the chauvinist policy of fascism takes different forms in different periods, the aim is always the same. It is to suppress the peoples by dividing them and to prevent their waging struggle in a united form against imperialism and fascism.
What is the meaning of fascism being the most repressive and murderous form?
When fascism is mentioned, first of all Italy and Germany come to mind. Hundreds of books and documents were written about the true face of fascism in Italy and Germany and the details of savagery were exposed in the eyes of the rest of the world.
“The corpses were piled in a room on top of each other so that if the door could not be closed the arms, legs or heads of the corpses were severed to make the bodies fit inside. Those arrested were forced to dig ditches so that the fat from the burned human bodies could be collected in them. This fat was scooped out by the same prisoners and poured onto the bodies again so that the corpses burned ‘better’. If the prisoners were not sufficiently careful, one of the Nazi officers would push him or her into the boiling fat. Part of this fat was turned into soap. The smell from the ovens was overpowering. And every day, day and night, thousands of human bodies were disposed of in this manner.
“Near the crematoria graves were dug which were a couple of metres wide and hundreds of metres long. Those who were to be killed were completely stripped. Then they were forced to lie down in these ditches. They were mown down with machine-guns. Then the second and third and fourth groups. This continues.”
The first condition of fascist power was, sooner or later, the destruction of those who came to the concentration camps. Nobody could leave these camps alive and no eyewitnesses were permitted. Because dead bodies tell no tales. Tens of thousands of pairs of babies’ and children’s shoes as well as slippers and bags were left as reminders. These are the mute witnesses to the killing of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. The wife of a Nazi general every day checked the Jews in one of these camps. She selected those who have nice skin. She had as her hobby making lampshades from human skin. She claims that “those who have nice skin reflect the light better” (The Death Factory, K. Simonov).
This savagery of fascism and the sorrow of the peoples were told from one generation to another. Fascism was condemned by the entire peoples of the world. During the Second World War Hitler’s fascist (Nazi) rule was defeated by the Red Army. The power of fascism was wiped out but millions of people still condemn it. Therefore today, no-one can openly defend fascism. But they only refuse to defend its name. Because today the conditions which caused the rise of fascism still exist. There are fascist individuals, institutions, parties and regimes which do not use the name of fascism. In other words, nothing is different in principle. As we mentioned above, the Maras massacre in Turkey happened years after fascism came to power in Germany (1933) and Italy (1922). But the image of savagery was the same. Hundreds of human beings were burned, dismembered, cut to pieces and made to disappear.
Today we are also witnessing the savagery of fascism and we will continue to witness it, because fascism cannot be described as only Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Alparslan Turkes in Turkey. Fascism cannot be explained only as the brutality of certain individuals, because fascism is not independent of the state. The idea of fascism as being independent of the state means the refusal to accept fascism’s class character. Fascism is a form of administration, a form of state. The most significant character of fascism is that it is dependent on the monopolist bourgeoisie and is the most open and terrorist dictatorship of the monopolist bourgeoisie.
Not all repressive administrations and dictatorships are fascist. For instance, from centuries ago people were repressed by systems of rule and much blood was spilt. But we do not call these systems fascist. Because fascism occurred in the 20th century as a form of rule by the monopolist bourgeoisie. When we analyse history we see that there is no state which did not use oppression and spill blood.
THE STATE: is the dictatorship of a class over another class and the tool of repression. But it is not an institution which has been in existence since the beginning of history. The state came into existence with the division of society into classes.
CLASS: is a large group of people whose interests differ from those of others in relation to the share of social wealth. For instance, in primitive communal society, there is mutual production. Wealth is shared equally. In other words, there is no private property. Therefore, there are no different classes such as rich and poor. There is also not a state.
Whenever there were two different classes which could not reach a compromise, then the necessity for a state arose.
When we look at the societies that succeeded the primitive communal society; In slave society, as the exploiting class there are masters and as an exploited class there are slaves who are bought and sold. At that time the state belonged to those masters as the ruling class.
In feudal society, lords replaced masters and serfs replaced slaves. Again, the state was in the possession of the feudal lords. And later on in capitalist society, with the development of technology and the increase of production, the owners of capital (that is, the bourgeoisie) formed and the exploited class was the proletariat (working class). And the state is in the possession of the bourgeoisie, as the ruling class. Since the 18th century, the bourgeoisie has been in charge of the state, and formed the bourgeois dictatorship by using the state. But we do not call the initial period of the bourgeois dictatorship fascist.
Let us remember once again that not every dictatorship is fascism. Also, in order to take power, the bourgeoisie fought against feudalism together with the working class and peasantry. They took power from the feudal landlords by spilling blood and paying the cost. Therefore, at the beginning of the hegemony of the bourgeoisie, it had to give certain rights and liberties to workers and peasants. The working class and peasants defended their rights. Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie developed the means of production during this period.
During this era we can talk about the progressive nature of the bourgeoisie. Anyway, we cannot speak of a united bourgeoisie at that time. It was still weak. There was major rivalry between them. We call this the era of free competition of capitalism.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th this period of capitalism came to an end. From then on, the monopolies determined economic life, and the uppermost stage of capitalism, the era of imperialism, begins. And therefore there were changes in the structure of the bourgeois class.
THE FORMATION OF THE MONOPOLIES
The bourgeoisie who were continuously in competition with each other developed in their own areas of production. This caused the intensification of production and a concentration and centralisation of capital. And so production was carried through by a monopoly. This wiped out the conditions for competition. With each crisis of the state, many companies could not resist and went bankrupt. But others who did not suffer from crisis became stronger. In short, this was a case of big fish eating smaller ones. This was how the monopolies arose.
At the same time, the banks were also taken over by these monopolies. From then on, the entire economy, production, markets and also the state were under the control of these monopolies.
The function of the state under the control of the monopolies is to regulate economic life on behalf of these monopolies and to open new markets. Naturally political life was also under the control of the monopolist bourgeoisie. This is the era when the monopolist bourgeoisie became reactionary and aggressive. Since then, the monopolist bourgeoisie has been in fear of being unable to uphold its rule.
What is the source of this fear?
During the imperialist period of the capitalist system, it is in crisis and cannot find a solution. This situation creates tension as well. The crisis created by surplus production also creates unemployment, inflation, high prices together with an imbalance between production and consumption. The economic crisis brings social and political crisis with it and starvation, poverty and unemployment extend to all sections of the working class. The masses are discontented and react against this, and the monopolist bourgeoisie cannot cope with protecting its own system. The monopolist bourgeoisie’s fear made it step up repression and also slow down the development of technology. This is the sign of the bourgeoisie being a reactionary force, and fascism is the most concrete form this takes. This is how the most reactionary, chauvinist and aggressive regime in history was created. This form of rule conquered power for the first time in Italy and then in Germany.
How did fascist rule conquer power in developed capitalist countries such as Germany and Italy?
Monopolies are in crisis. To overcome their crisis they need to open new markets, and because of the fight for markets, the first war to partition the world started in 1914. But this war could not yield the result that was expected. The crisis remained and on top of that starvation, poverty and unemployment grew worse.
While the monopolist bourgeoisie was trying to spread its hegemony, beyond its control the working class developed a will of its own, and in 1917 the first proletarian revolution in the world took place in Russia. This limited the area available for imperialism to exploit.
Also in other countries, where the influence of revolution in Russia was felt, the class struggle increased and national liberation wars achieved victories. In Hungary and Germany, soviets were formed. The struggles of workers and peasants in Italy intensified. The effect of socialism spread rapidly. During the same period national liberation wars in Iran, China and Turkey took place.
Imperialism started to lose its colonies one by one and lost power, becoming more aggressive in the process. Imperialism was cornered. With a manoeuvre it created new slogans which denied its own system, for example, the fascist parties were portrayed as being the enemies of capitalism and in favour of the working class. It tried to gain ground by using unemployment, starvation and poverty which are the results of economic and social crisis. This deception by fascism finds supporters in the middle strata of the bourgeoisie, lumpens, peasants and sections of the working class. Because fascism promises work and income to the people in return for their support. In Germany, which was defeated during the first war to partition the world, and Italy, which was on the winning side but dissatisfied with its gains in proportion to its losses, the masses came under the influence of the chauvinist and nationalist propaganda of fascism. The “Great Roman Empire” in Italy and the Third Reich in Germany appealed to the nationalist emotions of the petite bourgeoisie.
In Italy in 1922 and in Germany in 1933, fascist parties conquered power. During the same period, fascist dictatorships in Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia were formed.
No matter in which countries the fascist dictatorships existed, they are not different from one another since they are the forms of rule to defend the interests of the monopolist bourgeoisie with the most brutal methods. The main methods that are used by fascism are deceit, demagogy and terror. In accordance with the conditions in each country the ways fascism conquers power differ. Therefore we divide fascism into two categories:
CLASSICAL FASCISM AND COLONIAL-TYPE FASCISM
In the developed capitalist countries, where capitalism develops with its own dynamic, fascism organises itself from bottom to top. The fascist parties are organised by creating their own mass basis and by deceit and demagogy, they conquer power on this basis. For example, in Germany, the conquest of power by the Nazis was presented as a “revolution”. The name of the German fascist party was the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”, so that the longing for socialism of the masses could be exploited, because socialism had become the hope of the peoples. With such total hypocrisy, people were deceived by claims that starvation, poverty and unemployment would be eliminated and all economic problems would be solved. In this way, fascism deceived those who believed in it and terrorised those who did not. “Fascism is in need of demagogy (racism, liberal-nationalism, anti-Semitism, anti-communism) and mass propaganda on this basis. While they use violence against people on the one hand, on the other hand they attempt to show a smiling face to win them over. They make every effort to attract people to their cause and even force them to become members of fascist organisations.” (Notes on Fascism, Togliatti)
As a result, no matter where it is, the biggest weapon of fascism is deceit and demagogy on the basis of force.
In countries like Turkey, the monopolist bourgeoisie develops dependent on imperialism. Therefore it is weak and deformed. It has to be in alliance with pre-monopoly elements, both technologically and economically it is dependent on foreign capital, that is, the imperialist countries. To be dependent on foreign capital means a constant economic, social and political crisis. This situation is called the “national crisis”. Because of this “national crisis”, the oligarchy cannot exploit the people by using bourgeois-democratic methods. Our country is a typical example. The governments cannot rule for a long time and an atmosphere of elections, coalitions and referendums is continuous. Almost every 10 years, a military coup takes place. Those who come to power try to hang on to their positions by force and repression, and all kinds of dirty business like corruption, bribery, mafias, gangs are the reflection of the existence of the “national crisis”.
In short, the oligarchy has no alternative but to use tyranny, repression, terror and price rises. And under conditions of continuous instability, it can only survive by implementing fascism.
It is different from Classical Fascism in its application and the way it is formed. In Colonial-Type Fascism, the formation of fascism as a form of state arises from the formation of monopolist capital. Monopolist capital is dependent on imperialism and forms from top to bottom, and this is how fascism is formed. It is not based on the masses and their organisations, as happened in Italy. The state is gradually reorganised by the bourgeoisie in fascist style. The monopolist bourgeoisie, which is in control of political power, implements fascism in alliance with pre-monopoly elements. Therefore, while in the developed capitalist countries the class basis of fascism is the most reactionary and chauvinist elements of monopolist capital, in countries like ours it is the whole oligarchy. In our country the oligarchy is the alliance of the collaborationist monopoly bourgeoisie, the usury merchants and landlords.
Colonial-Type Fascism is exercised in two ways.
Secret Fascism: There are partial and formal bourgeois democratic rights. But these have no other function than to cover up fascism.
Open Fascism: when monopolist capital cannot cope with the situation, the cover concealing fascism is removed. Repression and force take place openly. The more detailed explanation of colonial-type fascism, secret and open fascism will be given below, by means of practical examples from our country.
THE INSTITUTIONALISATION OF FASCISM IN OUR COUNTRY TOOK PLACE STEP BY STEP
When the Republic of Turkey was established, it was not a fascist state. Mustafa Kemal himself was not a fascist. In the first years of the republic, there were Kemalists, in other words petit-bourgeois nationalists, at the upper levels of the administration, but they were not the only ones there. The state was a transitional one in which, besides Kemalists, there were other sections of the petite bourgeoisie. The main aim of the Kemalists was to develop capitalism by creating a national bourgeoisie. Since the Kemalists enjoyed hegemony in this period, we refer to it as a “Kemalist dictatorship” or a petit-bourgeois dictatorship. Mustafa Kemal himself said that “we will try to create many millionaires and even billionaires in our country.”
Did they succeed? They succeeded in creating new millionaires but could not succeed in creating a national bourgeoisie. Up to that time the bourgeoisie were only merchants and therefore they avoided investments and risk-taking. They were inexperienced, weak and therefore cowards.
Under these circumstances imperialism was able to dig its claws in bit by bit and with its colonial policies it started to establish its own fascist system.
FIRST IMPERIALISM CREATED A COLLABORATIONIST CLASS
Imperialism could not establish a system to protect its own interests without establishing a class with mutual interests.
Therefore in 1948 it strengthened the colonial bourgeoisie with loans and credits called “Marshall Aid”. In alliance with other sections of the bourgeoisie, this group was elected to power in the 1950s. These elections then were not ordinary ones like today’s. They resulted in the influence of the Kemalists being ended, while the oligarchy became hegemonic.
In a short time new sections of the collaborationist monopolies came into being, one after another. In this period the Koc and Sabanci families started to come to prominence. When the DP (Democratic Party) came to power in 1950 the institutionalising of fascism accelerated, especially in the government bureaucracy and the military. The first thing they did was to remove the Kemalists from the senior ranks of the armed forces. Turkey’s entrance into NATO placed the military at NATO’s disposal. And the contra-guerrillas were being established by reorganising the MIT so it was under the control of the CIA.
Meanwhile, civilian fascist groups were encouraged to organise under the banner of a reactionary ideology which made use of religion. There were certain obstacles to the institutionalising of fascism. Against the background of these developments and the collaborationist policies of the DP, Kemalists who had been driven from the upper levels of the army succeeded in carrying out a political revolution on May 27, 1960 by taking into account the discontent of the people. Kemalists in the military seized power. The May 27 administration succeeded in achieving certain changes like the “constitution” of 1961, semi-autonomous universities, freedom of participation in democratic organisations, all things which should not be under-estimated. So we define May 27 as a political revolution. But despite the May 27 revolution, which interrupted the institutionalising of fascism, it could not be permanently halted, because the forces that made May 27 were too weak. For example, they could not put an end to relations with the imperialists. Since they were afraid of US intervention, as soon as they conquered power, they declared that they would be loyal to bilateral agreements and imperialist institutions such as NATO and CENTO. As a result of their inability to alter relations with the imperialists, after a time they lost the initiative to the collaborationist bourgeoisie. The AP (Justice Party) replaced the DP and the institutionalising of fascism continued.
But still there were obstacles. Especially since in the 1960s, there was an atmosphere of freedom and anti-imperialist consciousness, and the struggle associated with it developed.
When the oligarchy could not rule any more in the old way, it did not hesitate to make use of open fascism. The junta periods arising from March 12, 1971 and September 12, 1980 were periods when fascism proved its existence by means of massacres, torture and prisons. Hundreds of thousands of people were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and taken to unknown destinations.
The news was full of stories of torture and deaths resulting from clashes. Military vehicles, tanks and armoured cars were in the city squares and at every street corner.
Hundreds of people were made to lie down on the pavements with soldiers and police standing over them.
The prisons were full of revolutionaries, democrats, intellectuals, authors, trade unionists.
Associations, trade unions and political parties were closed down.
Strikes and demonstrations were banned.
The entire opposition was banned in this period. A suitable environment was prepared for the rule of the oligarchy to continue. These were periods when the institutionalising of fascism took place at the most rapid pace. For example, on March 12, 1971, the Kemalists were almost completely expelled from the military, and on September 12, 1980 even those who saluted revolutionary or democratic officers were expelled, and the Kemalist elements were completely eliminated. Again, March 12 changed the constitution of 1961 beyond all recognition. September 12 abolished it completely and replaced it with the 1982 constitution.
The institutionalising of fascism continued at other times at a much slower pace than in the junta period. We call these periods secret fascism, ands in these periods civilian fascists replace the military. As they openly admitted, they tried to suppress the revolutionary struggle by acting as assistants to the state. Meanwhile, all the state institutions, especially the educational institutions, were filled with fascists. The education system was reshaped according to the needs of fascism. Those who were recommended by civilian fascist organisations were accepted into the ranks of the police. After the September 12 junta, fascism was openly implemented. Its institutionalisation was completed. At present, Turkey is an openly fascist state.
THE INSTITUTIONALISING OF FASCISM IN OUR COUNTRY
When fascism is mentioned in our country the end of the 1970s springs to mind. During these years the civilian fascist terror intensified. They were not attacking with chains, knives, iron bars, but with automatic weapons and explosives. Today’s President Demirel was then the Prime Minister (Note: Demirel has retired since this article was written.). Hypocritically he said, “You cannot get me to say that the rightists are committing crimes.” At the same time the fascists were committing brutal murders and the country was turned into a lake of blood. They were spraying houses, cafes, bus-stops and so on with indiscriminate gunfire. Fascist massacres and attacks spread all over the country. On March 16, 1978, fascists committed their first mass killing. Seven students were killed in a bomb attack in front of Istanbul University, and dozens were wounded. The Balgat (Ankara) massacre followed, with five killed and 14 wounded by gunfire. And again, the Bahcelievler (Ankara) massacre took place, in which seven students were brutally murdered.
And there were many more incidents.
The daily death toll was not below 20 to 30. And it increased every day. On December 24, 1978, this time not just revolutionaries and progressives but an entire generation of human beings was shaken by the Maras massacre. The fascist murderers massacred poor people in Maras with automatic weapons, they did not discriminate between children, the elderly and women. Girls were raped in front of their families, dynamite was shoved into women’s sexual organs and detonated, breasts were cut off, people were burned or nailed to walls and trees. Their houses were burnt down and belongings plundered. Even hospitals were attacked in order to finish off the wounded. There was no limit to the horror.
That day in Maras there were not just five or ten people killed, but an official death toll of 111. There were thousands of wounded. Another 11 people were killed during protest demonstrations over Maras. Another massacre at Corum followed Maras.
This repulsive aggression targeted everyone except the followers of fascism, and the brutality of fascism was felt everywhere. So these years are remembered as years of pure fascism, since the savagery was so keenly felt. But it would be a mistake to understand fascism simply from these examples. Because sometimes as at the end of the 1970s, it made use of evil fascist attacks and juntas, and at other times it used juntas. Then the massacres and torture were carried out by juntas. And at other times like now it resorts to “disappearances” and torture and killing by “unknown perpetrators”. Today the number of disappeared and killed by torture and massacres is not less than at earlier times.
And the common point of all these fascist attacks, regardless of their form, is that they are opposed to the struggle of the people and their demands for freedom. The main aim is to silence and intimidate the people and continue exploitation. As we mentioned above, fascism is a form of rule and we call fascism in our country Colonial-Type Fascism.
This means that the existing regime is fascist and whichever party is in power, reality does not change.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STATE TODAY
Today in our country there is no party that calls itself fascist. Nor could there be. Even the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party, the “Grey Wolves”) does not call itself fascist because fascism has been condemned by the peoples of the world. For thousands of years the sorrow that fascism has caused will not be forgotten by the peoples of the world.
In reality, fascism is not the enemy of a certain nation or country, but the enemy of all the peoples. It is insidious and back-stabbing. Because it always rules through deceit and demagogy. Therefore it is a most dangerous enemy.
When we look at our country we can see this fact clearly. For example, the speeches of statesmen are full of lies and manipulation. Whatever they say today can easily be forgotten tomorrow, and quite shamelessly they will deny something they said only a short while before. Especially during elections, they make promises and do not keep them. They claim they are the representatives of the people, but without the permission of TUSIAD (Turkey’ s employers’ and big business confederation) or the USA, they will not lift a finger. Whoever became the Prime Minister visited the USA at least once after taking office. The most recent example is Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit ‘s visit. When Clinton treated him like a servant, the media in Turkey tried to present this as something to be proud of. There are many examples of this. But their biggest lie is that the state is democratic. Of course there is a constitution, parliament and political parties, and courts to intervene in cases of wrong-doing. The military are in their barracks for the moment and there are plenty of elections. Everyone can vote as they wish. Even the press can issue criticisms. There are also plenty of books and magazines. They say, “How can we be any more democratic than this?”
Then what is the reality of fascism in our country? Wherever fascism has been institutionalised. to answer this question we have to analyse the institutions which constitute the state. Because the meaning of a state being fascist is that its institutions are fascist.
What are these institutions? The legislature, that is, parliament. The administration, the governments consisting ministries and related bureaucracies. The judiciary, that is, the courts. The military which defends the security of the country and protects the borders. The state consists of all these institutions and its duties are defined by the constitution.
Of course we should not forget the civilian fascists, because they are always an auxiliary force of the fascist state and the mass basis of fascism. This is also how they see themselves. Foe example, they always take part in the funeral ceremonies for soldiers and police. When the police kill revolutionaries, the civilian fascists turn up and applaud. When the state seeks new recruits for contra-guerrilla teams, recruits whose duties require inhuman barbarity such as cutting off ears and noses and slashing throats, it can find these recruits in the MHP and Idealist Hearths (Ulku Ocaklari – in Turkey, the fascists often call themselves “idealists”).
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE INSTITUTIONS
In democratic countries the legislature, judiciary and administration are independent of each other. They cannot influence each other. In fascist regimes, on the other hand, the administration is everything. For example, when Hitler and his party gained power, all the institutions of the state were under its control. The same is true of Mussolini and his party. In our country they say that the three institutions are separate. But this is just words. In reality all these institutions are under the control and at the disposal of the MGK (National Security Council). This reality was exposed clearly, especially after Susurluk. For instance in 1997, the famous “February 28 decisions” were taken by the MGK. Also, the implementation of these decisions is under the control of the MGK. The MGK consists of the General Staff and all the top military men, the Prime Minister and some of the ministers. they meet once a month and all sorts of decisions are taken in relation to ruling the country. The President chairs these meetings. Today not a single regulation or law passed by the parliament of the Council of Ministers can be implemented without the authorisation of the MGK. The MGK is the top and only body of the legislature, judiciary and administration.
Within the structure of the MGK, the military is dominant. This means that the decisions of the MGK are actually the decisions of the military. In other words, the military forces its directives upon these three institutions by means of the MGK.
What if they don’t agree with that?
That is totally out of the question, because the MGK is under the protection of the constitution. When the duties of the MGK are defined in the constitution it is written that “the MGK makes recommendations which have to be obeyed.” The meaning of this is very clear. The recommendations of the MGK must be implemented by the government. Because of mutual rivalries, if these decisions are not implemented or there is backsliding, then what happened to the Refah (Welfare) Party will be repeated. (Note: Refah, an Islamist party, was closed down by the MGK in 1997-98 despite being the most electorally popular party in Turkey.) Let’s remember that when the Islamist part of society represented by Refah came into conflict with the MGK programme, the Refah Party fell right away and was even closed down. Its leaders were prohibited from taking any further part in political activity, and instead a “soft” version of Refah, the Fazilet (Virtue) Party, was established. We have mentioned that all the institutions that constitute the state are fascist. This means the parliament is fascist. How does this happen? In fact this is the most complex part of the arguments about whether or not there is fascism in our country. There are many parties, so many MPs, and alongside the fascists like the BBP (Great Unity Party) and MHP, there are also MPs who are at least not fascist. Sometimes they oppose torture and even support the struggle of the Mothers of the Disappeared. Then why do we say parliament is a fascist institution? Parliament is the uppermost body of the state in democratic countries. Laws and legislation are made, changed, decisions and programmes of governments are accepted or rejected. But we have already mentioned that in our country the uppermost institution is the MGK.
Secondly, what is the point of the uppermost institution not having armed forces at its disposal? None. Because without armed force there is no ability to force others to accept decisions. In our country the authority to use the armed forces and the authority of parliament to use the armed forces has been taken away by the constitution. This authority belongs to the President, which means that without the knowledge of parliament the President can even declare war or take similar decisions. This situation is the most important proof that parliament is a puppet institution. On the other hand, since fascist regimes like the one in our country call themselves democratic, it permits certain institutions of a parliamentary (democratic) regime. It gives people the right to vote, but the political parties and electoral laws are regulated in such a way that fascism does not give a chance to any parties that might harm the system. Our people often use the following phrase to describe the situation: “Voting for the one who is least bad.” During elections, people vote not to select the desired party or MP, but to elect the least undesirable party or MP . Fascism does not permit anything outside of the choices it puts forward. All the successful parties provide for the implementation of fascism under a false cover of democracy.
What does this mean?
In reality these parties do not differ from one another. In principle, they are all the mouthpieces of the oligarchy and imperialism. Therefore we call all these parties bourgeois parties. They heavily criticise each other as if there is any difference between them, but when they are in power no difference is perceptible.
All governments up to and including the present one are formed with the support of the TUSIAD and imperialism. This collaboration is committed openly. Even the head of the Refah Party, Erbakan, who claims that he is the representative of the Islamist section of society and called the USA the “great Satan”, had to ask for the approval of the USA when he became Prime Minister (1996). He even had to change his image in order to obtain this approval.
The oligarchy and imperialism never support just one party. In accordance with the current conditions, whichever party can best protect their interests will be supported by them. For instance, yesterday the ANAP (Motherland Party), or the DSP (Democratic Left Party) and today the coalition of ANAP and DSP. ANAP is called a centre-right party, the DSP is centre-left, but both can only stay in power as long as they protect the interests of imperialism and the oligarchy. When they are used up, and are in a situation in which they cannot carry out their policies, they are replaced by other parties of the oligarchy. Today, the MHP is an example of this.
Assessing the parliament as being an ineffective, powerless and puppet institution is not enough. Parliament is in the service of fascism. It provides for the implementation of fascist policies.
THE GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION
The parliament appoints the administration. This is done through a vote of confidence, which means that governments carry out their work under the supervision of parliament. The appointment of the government in our country is the same. But they don’t carry out their work under parliamentary supervision. An example of this:
Let’s remember Bulent Ecevit in the 1970s. When he was in opposition, he was talking about the existence of the contra-guerrillas and said that when he came to power, he would deal with the problem. He came to power and not only did he not deal with them, he even forgot that they existed. He even denied their existence. The meaning of this is that governments are supervised by the contra-guerrillas, not by the parliament.
This situation is much clearer today. If the question of “is there any institution that the government is responsible to?” is posed, the answer will definitely not be “parliament”. It will be either “no” or “the MGK”. Whichever government is in power, during the meetings of the MGK, the “National Security Document” or as it is also known, “the Secret Constitution” or “the Red Book”, is put in front of the representatives of the government. The message is: “Your party and election programmes are over. Learn the basic outlines of your work well.”
This secret constitution is the only constitution for the government. The government rules the country in accordance with this constitution by issuing “governmental directives” and “regulations”. These governmental directives are the decisions of the government and have the force of a decree. This is done without the approval of parliament. That is, the government, without having the authority to issue “decrees”, can in practice issue them. The most famous of these are the “SS directives”, which are based on repression and prohibitions. For example, since 1982 there has not been a single decree issued on prisons, but more than 10 directives were issued by the government to intensify the repression in prisons.
Also in our country or countries like ours, authority rests with unelected bureaucrats rather than with those elected to parliament. The generals, police chiefs and mayors directly or indirectly control the administration. For example, the name of General Cevik Bir, who was educated in the USA and can speak English better than Turkish, was heard more often than the Prime Minister’s at one time. Again, another establishment of the military called the “Western Working Group” is still functioning and continuing to compile files on almost everyone from a butcher to a minister, despite the decision of the Prime Minister that “it is no longer needed”.
These people make public their opinions about the state of the nation and issue warnings. They even act as spokesmen for the country abroad. Their opinions are more valid than, for example, those of the head of parliament. The most important slots in the bureaucracy are staffed with fascist cadres. No-one can be head of police or mayor without a track record as a torturer or murderer. Some examples are:
Necati Bilican; he was mayor of one of the state emergency districts. He proved himself to be the murderer of hundreds of people and then he became head of police. This is only one example. Today in our country all the posts of police chief, mayor and similar positions are given to such people.
Mehmet Agar’s career from police chief to minister follows a similar pattern. Therefore it is no wonder we call the state “the police state”, “the contra-guerrilla state” or “the Susurluk state”.
What about the judiciary?
Here, we will ask questions in a way that will guarantee the answer “No”. Could the gangs be judged? The names of almost all MPs including the head of parliament have been mentioned in connection with corruption. Can they be brought before a court?
Could Tansu Ciller (former Prime Minister of Turkey and a US citizen) be brought before a court? Mesut Yilmaz (another former Prime Minister)? Mehmet Agar? Ayhan Carkin and Ibrahim Sahin? The fascist murderer Oral Celik, whose crime is known even down to the last minute and who is presently chairman of a premier-league football club?
The Gazi massacre trial recently concluded. And the murderer-policeman Adem Albayrak was acquitted. Eleven people were killed by police gunfire in March 1995, and there is video footage of it happening, with Adem Albayrak clearly visible on camera using his automatic rifle. The trial took four years, and was moved from Istanbul to Trabzon (a distance of 1,083 kilometres, or 18 hours by coach). He was the only policeman who was detained until the final court verdict.
Today even members of the judiciary say that the judiciary is not independent. The DGM (State Security Court) prosecutor Mete Gokturk explained the situation in detail on a TV programme. Now he is on trial on a charge that may result in twelve and a half year’s imprisonment. In every courtroom in Turkey there is the motto, “Justice is the Basis of the State.”
The justice of fascism is the basis of fascism. According to this, for example, children who stole pastries are put on trial, not the smugglers, drug traffickers, fraudsters etc. Whether or not one has any idea about the state, today nobody trusts the courts.
Fascism also established special courts called the DGMs in order to protect itself and legitimise the repression and terror.
The DGMs are fascist institutions designed to condemn the people’s struggle. Fascism makes use of these courts to whitewash its own attacks and massacres and to legitimise its attacks. These places are the places where fascism is whitewashed and the revolutionary struggle is put on trial. While the torturers and contra-guerrilla chiefs are acquitted, revolutionaries, democrats and intellectuals are sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT INSTITUTIONS OF FASCISM IS THE MILITARY
According to the dictionary definition, the military are part of the state administration. But in country’s like ours, the military is in charge of every issue, and it is the most important institution of fascism. We have already mentioned how the military dominate the state administration by means of the MGK. What is the structure of the military, which is so dominant? First of all, the military is dependent on imperialism in every way. From the weapons soldiers carry to the socks they wear, everything is supplied by imperialism. It is not only dependent but collaborationist as well. All the strategically important positions within the military are staffed by the officers and the generals who have been educated in the USA. The military is under the control of the Yankees, from its institutionalisation to its regulations. The Yankees organise courses to give instruction in how to use the weapons that they sell, as well as supplying technical information, training and disciplinary regulations. Of course these examples are not enough to explain the collaboration. Today the military is also a monopoly tied to domestic and foreign monopolies having mutual interests. With the establishment of military markets, military entertainment clubs, military pleasure beaches, military foundations, OYAK (Military Aid Institutions), ASELSAN (military company specialising in electronics), TUSAS (Turkish-American military firm), TUSLOG (Turkish-US Logistics Group) and so on, the senior administration of the military is turned into a bureaucratic bourgeoisie. The military cadres live in better conditions than their civilian counterparts, therefore the military protects the interests of imperialism and the collaborationist bourgeoisie better than any other force.
Also, the collaborationist monopolies in our country like Sabanci and Koc continuously give presents to the Chiefs of Staff and the heads of the armed forces.
FASCISM SURVIVES THROUGH TERROR
If the people are organised and conscious, imperialism and the monopolist bourgeoisie cannot apply fascism. That is why besides their own legal institutions, they need several other institutions of repression. An administration that protects the interests of imperialism and the monopolist bourgeoisie is of course the enemy of the peoples. Because this administration means the plundering of the peoples’ labour and their exploitation by force. It is not a form of administration that can be accepted by the people.
Therefore fascism does not want the peoples to achieve consciousness and become organised. The people are constantly subject to repression, in short, fascism survives through terror.
There are associations, unions and political parties, but almost every activity is banned. In one night tens of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are raided by police and their members arrested. Supposedly there is a right to participate in an organisation, but to go to these NGOs means to face oppression and torture.
There are socialist and revolutionary newspapers, magazines and books, but almost every issue is seized. The bureaus of newspapers and magazines are raided and even bombed, all the furnishings are damaged and plundered, their workers are brutally beaten and arrested. The socialist weekly Kurtulus (Liberation) is a typical example.
When this is not enough, they try to intimidate and silence the people through killings, massacres and disappearances.
But to do this, the state’s legal institutions like the police are not always sufficient. Under these circumstances the contra-guerrillas which supervise the rest of the state institutions intervene.
They are directly responsible to the General Staff. It is the planner and executor of all the filthy deeds, massacres, provocations, the 1,000 OPERATIONS, and the chauvinist policies which divide the people. If functions under the name of the “Special Forces Command”.
The gendarmerie stations, JITEM, the Special Action Teams, the village guards, Special Commando Units, the Mayoral Administrations of the State of Emergency Areas, the DGMs and similar institutions are all responsible to the Special Forces Command.
The contra-guerrillas are the enemies of the people. Their principal duty is to divide and intimidate the people and make them the slaves of imperialism and the oligarchy at whatever the cost. For this reason savage murders are committed and the people are split into fragments and incited to kill one another. Mass killings are organised, villages are bombed, peasants are forced to migrate, forests are destroyed.
Both the contra-guerrillas and the MIT are under the direct control of imperialism through the CIA.
BESIDES THE INSTITUTIONS OF REPRESSION, FASCISM TAKES MEASURES IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE
With the YOK (Higher Education Council) which destroyed the autonomy of the universities, students; with the YHK (Higher Arbitration Council) workers; with the Higher Council of Judges and Prosecutors the judiciary; and with the State Control Council the bureaucracy and government are all under the control of fascism. Its institutionalisation is completed from top to bottom through these institutions which are shaped by the constitution.
On the other hand, fascism has to have a certain amount of mass support (at least from a minority of the people) to continue to exist.
THE MASS SUPPORT OF FASCISM IS THE CIVILIAN FASCISTS
The fascist organisations find their supporters mainly from small-scale entrepreneurs. These could be shop-owners or land-owning peasants. These kinds of people always wish to get richer and never give up hoping in the system.
In this way, they are influenced by the propaganda of the system and become its natural supporters.
Whenever it is necessary they become the state’s source of mass support or an offensive force against the revolutionary-democratic opposition. They attack demonstrations, burn and destroy and carry out massacres. Again, whenever it is necessary, they become the instruments of chauvinist propaganda. They declare the entire peoples of the world to be enemies, their principal demagogy is “Turks have no other friends than Turks”, they continuously say that we should be in “national unity and togetherness”. Their understanding of unity is the unity of serving imperialism and the oligarchy. They declare that the rising struggle of the people for rights and liberties is destroying this unity and they consider the supporters of this struggle to be enemies.
The state’s businesses like drug-dealing and prostitution are also carried out by these civilian fascists. Alaattin Cakici and Drej Ali are well-known examples. The commando camps of the past are replaced by today’s mafia ranches. It is also well-known how these are on very good terms with bureaucrats and ministers. How they committed murders and carried out provocations are known very well by the people. In short, when the state is restricted in carrying its dirty businesses because of its own laws, the civilian fascist cadres are used.
THE PERSONALITIES THAT ARE CREATED BY FASCISM AND CULTURAL DECOMPOSITION
Fascism has to create a people who will accept its culture in order to protect its system, as well as civilian fascists.
It tries to do this with cultural decomposition. The era when cultural decomposition was at its height was the era following September 12, 1980. Those who reject the culture of fascism and mindless admiration for imperialist countries are called the children of September 12. September 12 is not only a special period. It is the beginning of an era which began with the military coup. September 12 is an understanding, a lifestyle and a social structure.
No matter how bloody and repressive the junta was, without creating a mass which accepts its administration voluntarily, it wouldn’t have been able to survive long. The way to do this was to depersonalise society, that is, bring about its decomposition. In order to provide for the continuity of fascism, this was one of the biggest targets of September 12. In this way its fascist practices would be easily accepted.
On the one hand the educational system was completely reshaped in accordance with the fascist ideology. On the other, the media were used widely. The media monopolies became voluntary supporters of these fascist policies. Turncoats, fainthearts, cowards are bought by the media bosses and from them the propaganda of decomposition is made. Today they still are the biggest tool of depersonalisation, making use of left-wing vocabulary. For this reason the philosophy of “there is no belief that is worth dying for” was propagated. To be a turncoat became something valued. Belief in justice, equality and independence was denigrated. Terms like freedom and democracy were deprived of their content, private property became sacred, democracy and freedom were presented as meaning you could do whatever you wanted to.
“To turn the corner” (get rich) became the main aim. Individualism, individual liberation and a money-oriented life were propagated at every level. As far as the understanding of September 12 is concerned, there was no rule, value, morality other than to achieve individual liberation and to get rich. Their motto was “anything goes”. For example, when such people are questioned about their immoral ways of life, they don’t even discuss whether it is immoral or not. Shamelessly they say, “I am earning money. What’s wrong with that?”
One of the typical examples of such people is Hulya Avsar who is a “famous” character in Turkey, often on TV. As far as we know, she does not support a fascist party and if she believed that being a candidate of a social democratic party would bring more money and fame, she would do it. But she is one of the archetypes of fascism’s personality. Women like Hulya Avsar, men like Ibrahim Tatlises and youngsters like Tarkan are presented as models. They want to create people who dress like them, laugh like them and sell themselves like they do, at every stage of life.
Because fascism can only stand upon a foundation of such people, on the one hand September 12 presented decomposition and devaluation as a “system of values”, these were so-called ‘changes’, ‘openings’, ‘renovations’. On the other, fascist murderers like Abdullah Catli were treated as statesmen. These murderers killed on behalf of the state and even, as happened in Azerbaijan, were involved in coups abroad. Also, the mafia mobs like Cakici were given duties under the guise of being statesmen, they financed these murders.
Murderers like Mehmet Agar, Kemal Yazicioglu and Yasar Okuyan became valuable. They took part in the administration of the state.
All these relations and filth were exposed at Susurluk, one by one and name by name. It was fascism’s true face which was exposed at Susurluk, despite only a small part of it coming to light.
Those who issue reports, supposedly, about the gangs and their murders claim that they are fighting against gangs, say that “the state may be in need of doing such work in the future, so all this has to be taken into serious consideration like a state would do.” Some parts of the reports were not made public for the same reason. This has a clear meaning; massacres, murders, provocation, drug-trafficking. That is, Susurluk, that is, fascism will continue. Again with these words they admit that they have no other way to continue their rule other than fascism.
COULD FASCISM BE SUCCESSFUL?
History has shown that wherever there is repression, force and tyranny, there are definitely people who resist and fight against it. Because to resist is in the nature of human beings. Neither the era of slavery in which human beings were bought and sold by other human beings, nor the feudal system of the Dark Ages in which people were burned alive and crucified could survive forever. History is written by those who fought against tyranny, not those who spilt blood unjustly. Society always progresses forward and adopts the revolutionary path.
If one side of history is tyranny, pain, blood and sorrow for the people, the other side is resistance, revolt and revolutions. To live on your knees is against human nature.
Today the name of tyranny is fascism. Like all systems of repression, it is destined to rot and disappear. After the 1900s, following the fascist regimes which tried to destroy the people’s liberation struggles, revolutions took place. Heroic peoples established socialism and fought against fascism with a united front. Today the growing struggle for Independence, Liberation and Democracy both in our country and throughout the world, is the proof of fascism’s failure.
The only way not to surrender to the savagery and terror of the monopolies is to call out “freedom” and to struggle.
Fascism will be defeated “without depending on outside forces, by believing in your own power, thinking, learning, achieving the revolution and protecting the revolution.” (DHKP (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party) Congress Report, page 104.)
Fascism is the regime of destruction and decomposition. It hates everyone except itself. Therefore there are only two choices for the people who are united against fascism;