On the one hand, Turkey has been barred from the European Union just like six months ago, and on the other hand it has signed a new Strategic Agreement with the USA. Cooperation with Israel is being stepped up in spite of criticism from Arab countries… At the same time, Russia steps in and new agreements are signed in the same way. Discussion of domestic politics are in full swing. Words like “reorganisation” and “changes” are in everyday use. Why all these promises?
In reality, these are the results of the crisis Turkey’s oligarchy finds itself in, as well as a consequence of the increasing strategic importance of the country in the region.
Turkey’s geographic position is important to imperialism for the following reasons: the oil reserves of the Caspian and the new markets in the Caucasus, the proximity of the Middle East, a region where there has long been no political stability and which is not properly under imperialist control, and the Balkans, where imperialism first stirred the peoples up to hate each other and then go to war, followed by imperialism presenting itself as a peacekeeper. Turkey is part of this region. When it is also remembered that there is the drugs trade, the arms trade and money laundering involving the East and West, then Turkey’s central position and role as a transit point becomes clearer. Taking all this into account, imperialism cannot do without Turkey.
The other side of the coin is that Turkey is equally important strategically in terms of the fate of the peoples. This is not an exaggeration. With regard to this region, one can say that Turkey is either the future of imperialism or the future of the peoples of the world.
Imperialism Would Like a Stable Turkey
Imperialism sees this. Turkey is to be given new roles to play so as to be able to bear the burdens of imperialism in this region. Imperialism wishes Turkey to be a stable military, economic and political springboard. For imperialism, the world is a gigantic chessboard and the dependent countries are pawns to be positioned in such a way as to secure imperialism’s mastery over the world and ensure it can achieve its aims. The expansion of NATO, sending European military forces to dependent countries and the opening of new fronts are a part of this strategy. Imperialism’s insistence that Turkey should introduce “constitutional changes” is a vital requirement for the kind of country they want which is free of worries for them.
However, the world-wide crisis of imperialism which cannot be overcome, as well as the crisis in the Turkish oligarchy which also cannot be surmounted because the political and economic means are lacking mean that imperialism cannot realise its policies in these areas.
US imperialism’s deceit and propaganda about the “New World Order” failed in a relatively short space of time. Both political and economic calculations proved unfounded. Examples of this are still quite blatant. The enthusiastic advocates and publicists for the introduction of economic plans in South Korea, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and similar countries were quickly forced to realise that these merely brought about new crises. The economic ties of imperialism, which are closely interwoven, led to the current crisis in Asia spreading throughout the region and threatening the main imperialist centres. It can be said that they were hit with the weapons they themselves used against dependent countries. The recent stock market crash is a sign of this. But imperialism is condemned to continue introducing such “plans”.
Just as US imperialism is trying to use South Korea as a base for its policies in Asia and to influence other Asian countries from there, it is also trying in the same way to use Turkey as a base in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. But the economic, political and social crisis in Turkey is a big obstacle to realising these plans. Moreover, class and national conflicts persist, there is a people’s movement whose existence shakes the confidence of imperialism and its fear of revolution is growing. Plans decided upon in Washington cannot be implemented through the National Security Council (MGK) and the Confederation of Entrepreneurs of Turkey (TUSIAD), the desired aims are not being achieved.
The dissolution of the REFAHYOL government (coalition of the Islamic Refah Party and the Dogru Yol or True Path Party) and the institutions close to it by the MGK and TUSIAD, their direct and increasing influence over the government, and even the creation of a new government headed by Mesut Yilmaz – all these things do not resolve the problems. Yilmaz and his government are suffocating more and more through their powerlessness and helplessness.
The MGK and TUSIAD took on the kind of role normally played by political parties in an effort to overcome crisis and carry out imperialism’s directives. In short the oligarchy is losing more and more credibility, possesses less and less trust among the people, its institutions are ceasing to function and are rotting away. Developments show that the MGK and all the establishment parties are sharing the same fate in the face of the developing revolutionary struggle.The absence of a way out is the result of the system’s inability to govern and the deepening crisis.
USA: “It Is Not Your Job To Judge Susurluk”
It is a year since the Susurluk accident [November 1996] and nothing has been done to explain it or to bring the guilty to judgement. It is a period during which the people have followed its shamelessness with astonishment. During the discussions on lifting the immunity of Mehmet Agar, who had been interior minister at the time, he openly warned the state’s institutions and admitted that Susurluk closely reflected what was going on in the state. The lack of fear of the state apparatus clearly showed that anyone put on trial over the case will be acquitted. The chairman of the Washington public relations institution Makowsky which offers the American and Turkish armed forces ideas and advice in return for financial recompense, said the following to Turkish members of parliament from various parties travelling to the USA: “It is not your job to judge Susurluk, no party has such a role to play. This incident will run its course according to its own laws…”
The facts speak for themselves!
The people see these facts. Under the slogan “The people will demand a reckoning from the bands”, one can see these facts as well as the demand for people’s justice.
The worries expressed by Yilmaz, “The system will collapse,” the concern of the MGK that “The people will be driven towards radicalism”, and the fearful exclamation by TUSIAD, “There will be a catastrophe”, showed their more or less open anxieties and fears. Nonetheless, the MGK tried in the face of these developments to carry out the orders of US imperialism and to play the “democracy game” with new manoeuvres, for example with discussions about “Islamic law versus secularism”, and in this way they tried to keep the people and opposition forces within the framework of the system. As part of this the system is seeking to open new channels for itself among that section of the left influenced by the MGK, the pro-MGK trade unions and the media.
Revolutionaries must seek in every sphere to expose the plans of the MGK, which is trying to implement its fascist politics and overcome the crisis in the system and itself. These are the key conflicts of this period. In the immediate future the people’s demands for justice, rights and freedom will grow louder and the MGK will try to prevent this by stepping up its attacks. Imperialism is commissioning the MGK and the TUSIAD with the task of building up a stronger Turkey. Day-to-day control by US imperialism over the implementation of the directives it issues is being realised through the delegations which travel to America every day.
But it is worth noting that both these institutions lack the power to carry out the plans of imperialism. The peoples of Turkey are distancing themselves more and more from the MGK, TUSIAD and their institutions. In this situation, the only aim to be pointed out to the people, the only aim for which revolutionary energy must be centralised, the only aim of left forces and the people’s forces is to use their strength to bring about people’s power. Tactics and policies which do not contribute to this will directly or indirectly strengthen the MGK and stabilise imperialism.
Source: Revolutionary Left Magazine, February 1998