Istanbul Yenikapi Rally that was realized last Sunday is an important example showing the extent of political mobilization in Turkey, happening in the last month. The rally, which was joined by five million people and the leaders of opposition parties (except HDP), showing “unity of the protectors of democracy”, actually had multiple messages targeting both domestic and foreign politics. During the coup process, which can be described as the clashing of power groups inside the state, it looks like president Erdogan and AKP Government managed to talk different political groups into their “politics for coup process”.
The existence of state on the lands we live on, is directly related to the existence of the army, especially considering its relation during the founding process. Coup is a term that has an important place in the political life of the Turkish Republic. One can see how the coup, as an inevitable political reality of the existence of state in these lands, affects the current state policies considering the latest coup that occurred, the 1980 Coup. What happened on July 15, has a character that continues this political reality. The army who wanted to intervene the political power tried to take control of strategically important state buildings; many bureaucrats in strategically important positions were taken hostage, the parliament and intelligence buildings were bombed, bridges and airports were blocked by soldiers, clashes occurred between soldiers and the police. The five hour coup attempt was terminated with different and rapid maneuvers of the current government and especially of president Erdogan. Among these maneuvers, notable factors are control of the media, control of the civil and mass mobilization through the media and the control of law enforcement under Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Current political power was able to maintain a massive mobility since July 15 under the name “democracy watch” especially targeting the street and military areas. To create the civil mobilization that stopped the tanks marching towards the bridges blocked by soldiers on the night before July 16, AKP have been using all facilities of state. Since July 15, while this mobilization is identified with sacred values of the state, and the ones who lost their lives in this mobilization are declared “martyrs” with stories of heroism, a state of continuous vigilance is tried to be created by steadily pumping hate and revenge. The big rally mentioned above is en extension of this state of vigilance. We see that part of the mobilization on the street is also targeting various sections (Kurdish, Alevi, Opposition) that stand against the state in different areas. AKP and Erdogan, which hold the current political power, have become a platform for Islamist-nationalist formations. This is shown clearly by the symbols created by the process.
Cover Of Democracy
Each coup is a process by which the state oppression shows itself in a physical and violent form. It is nothing but putting pressure on the oppressed using force and violence to take over the political power. As revolutionaries who experienced the period when military coup of 1980 directly murdered, tortured and repressed the revolutionaries and the oppressed, and the period following it, we know too well what coups really are.
We also know what is being tried under the name of allegedly anti-coup “democracy struggle” since July 15. The state of being “elected power” which is raised as an argument against the sections that plotted the coup, plays an important part in legitimizing current position of AKP and Erdogan. All political discourse they raised since July 15 is in fact related to this cover of democracy.
We have emphasized before that AKP and Erdogan have made explicit their characteristic of being a platform for Islamist-nationalist sections. Especially considering the struggle of these sections against pro-coup, laicistic, radical Kemalist power groups inside the state since the founding of the state, it can be seen that there is an existential contradiction between this platform and the army and republican bureaucrats. As much as this contradiction seems like pro-democracy, it is really far away from it. To see the distance, it is suffice to look at the “demands” in the street. Death penalty, presidency with extra authorities, and many other demands based on the same Islamist and nationalistic values are hidden under the cover of democracy.
While democracy is sanctified by the current political power, demands of the 51% who voted for this political power in the latest elections are described as the will of the people. The reality is even farther away from this. Current political power is trying to sell its plans and strategies as the people’s demands. Since this platform is against all “political values of the West”, its play of pro-democracy is not realistic.
It must be noted, on the other hand, that we should not fall into the same trap that some socialist organizations fell into while doing the analysis. Our criticism above does not mean that we embrace the democratic values of the system. In fact, it is the same democratic system that makes possible “the majority oppress the minority” under the play of pro-democracy. Inside this democratic system, when radical Islamist take power, they are the pro-democratic; and when the nationalists or liberals take power, they are. This is the exact message that AKP and Erdogan want to give to the West; “we are democratic”.
Who Plotted The Coup?
In our assessments from the start, we indicated that the current process is a result of the power groups inside the state fighting for power. It’s known that since the first elections that AKP started to hold the state power, AKP has relationships with the Gulen Community which was gaining popularity especially in the international media. Even Erdogan himself declared in a recent rally, that he had relations with the Gulen Community and that he was deceived and apologized from the people.
Fethullah Gulen, who is a religious authority and community leader have had an increasing influence on Turkish politics in the last thirty years. This increasing influence reached political power with AKP and opened the door for organizing significant positions inside significant state agencies. Current AKP power also benefited from this positional convenience. Conservative identity of the party allowed this. Fethullah Gulen was seen as an important spiritual leader until last four years by party members and Erdogan himself. The peak of this fight for power in the last four years due to various political and economic reckoning is this coup attempt. Considering the depth of their relations and the relations of coup plotters with Gulen Community, the process defines something very different from classical contradiction between Kemalists and conservatives. This is a clash of interests. Gulen and his community which are accused of treason by the political power, are just one side of a broken partnership.
Since the question is the political power of the state, it’s obvious that political clash of power groups inside the state has a place in international schemes. Since the day of coup attempt, in a process where all TV channels, newspapers, radios, except the revolutionary ones became a part of the mass media various scenarios were continuously broadcast and are still being broadcast. Most of the scenarios state that the coup is made by the US with the hand of Gulen Community, due to the fact that Gulen resides in US. The scenarios often talk about the coup attempt is being designed by CIA due to anti-West international politics of the Turkish state.
Other scenarios talk about the coup attempt being designed and operated by AKP and Erdogan himself. These other scenarios emphasize that Erdogan who would reinforce its power as a result of this process would eliminate all opposition in this position. Of course the oppression politics against the Kurds plays an important role in creating this context of no opposition. AKP, CHP, MHP which acted as “unity of democracy” since the beginning of the process followed a policy that explicitly left HDP out, creating an allegedly “coalition of democracy” accusing HDP and the Kurdish movement to be a part of the plot and thus disabling HDP.
Another scenario as part of the same process of disabling is the war scenario. In this scenario, following the violent operations it made in a period of one year especially in North Kurdistan, its emphasized that the state getting ready for massacres at even larger scales. Within a conjuncture where the line between civil war and foreign war disappeared in the last ten years, one cannot but think that one end of the war will be directed to Rojava and Syria. Considering Syria and the mobilization in Middle east geography alone, it’s possible that the coup process is part of other international schemes.
State Of Emergency For Who?
It’s important for us revolutionary anarchists to analyze well all scenarios above as possibilities with respect to our near and distant perspectives. We need revolutionary strategies made with these perspectives. However, apart from all these scenarios, we as revolutionaries feel the practical repercussions of the State Of Emergency process since July 20.
The state is in a process of reconstruction since July 20. Operations in the army, police, judiciary, economic centers, ministries, municipalities, etc are still going on. The state which is a mechanism of oppression and violence, becomes more oppressive and more violent with this delegated legislation, and apart from the sections related to Gulen Community, increase the attacks on revolutionaries, taking advantage of the process.
Populist opposition engaged with the power, big media pool which became the voice of political power, law enforcement directly reporting Erdogan, fascist mass ready to mobilize with Islamist-nationalist values, army ready to attack near geographies within international conjuncture… Possible dangers awaiting the oppressed and the revolutionaries in this geography.
The fight of power groups claiming political power over a device rising above economic and political injustice; is nothing but the hegemony of the oppressors over the oppressed gaining permanency in order to destroy the freedom of the oppressed. Neither the apparent or implied dictatorship, nor military or civil formation, nor coups or elections of the political powers that are enemies of the people have any relations to peoples will. We, who believe that life of freedom cannot be created by coup nor by elections, know the existence of state as a coup to freedom and our revolt will last until it creates a free world. What we all need is, not getting hopes up from the fight between the powers, but to know that hope is revolution for freedom.
Huseyin Civan (DAF member)