The Recent Turkish Parliamentary Election

An Article from the Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

CWO Introduction - In Revolutionary Perspectives 41, we published correspondence with the EKS on imperialism (at the end of 2006) and a leaflet that they wrote on the war in Lebanon (in the summer of 2006). Since then, we have had the oportunity to meet and directly discuss with comrades of the EKS and hope to continue our mutual cooperation. In this instance, we are grateful to the comrades of the EKS for contributing this short article on the situation after the elections in Turkey which have strengthened the rule of the AKP. The article has the merit of revealing how this was done. We look forward to hearing how the Turkish working class responds in a future issue.

The recent elections in Turkey resulted in the ruling liberal-Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP - Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi) gaining 46% of the votes, the main opposition, secular nationalist Republican People’s Party (CHP - Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi) getting just over 20% of the votes, the fascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP - Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi) getting 14% of the votes and, finally, the Kurdish nationalist and leftist “independents” (because of the electoral system, no party getting less than 10% can enter parliament except if they run as independent candidates) getting a little more than 3% of the votes.

The AKP clearly won a major victory in this election. The AKP, a party supported by the majority of the industrial, trade and agricultural bourgeoisie, was approached with caution by the bureaucratic elites of the army and the state because of its political past. Although politically along the lines of the Christian Democratic Parties in Europe, the AKP has managed to run a “welfare” program through its power in the municipalities. Having won lots of the municipalities including Istanbul and Ankara, the party has managed to use the resources of those municipalities to give out food, clothes and coal.

The bureaucratic elites of the army and the state were hardly happy with the AKP, however. These elites had challenged the AKP before the elections, and had denied the AKP-dominated parliament the chance to elect a president and the buraucratic elites of the army had sent an ultimatum to the government over this. What’s more, huge secular-nationalist demonstrations were held in favor of the secular elites, something which they had obviously played some role in. With the political extentsion of the bureaucratic elites of the army and the state, the CHP and the MHP were hoping to create a coalition government and had announced that they were planning to attack Northern Iraq. Although the MHP managed to increase its vote, the CHP failed to do so.

As for the Kurdish nationalists, they have managed to get over twenty deputies to the parliament, as they were allied with the leftists, and the leader of the supposedly “socialist” Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP - Özgürlük ve Dayanisma Partisi) managed to become a deputy as well as an independent candidate elected from Istanbul, with his “first duty” being to try to decrease the wages deputies are being paid. This said, the independent candidates of the Kurdish nationalist Democratic Society Party (DTP - Demokratik Toplum Partisi), despite the fact that they managed to get into the parliament, lost a considerable amount of votes. In the last election, the Kurdish nationalist alliance had managed to get 6% of the votes; in this election, their independent candidates got half that number of votes and became the second party in the Kurdish regions, being defeated by the AKP who managed to get votes not only with its welfare policies but also with its lack of overt support for the war with the Kurds in Northern Iraq.

There is a possibility of a new coup; the army is not really happy about the AKP, the bureaucratic elites are not really happy about the bourgeoisie being so independent and, politically, there is a point at which the army will stop tolerating the AKP and no-one knows where this point is. Nevertheless, the army is weaker than it was before and it doesn’t have the support of the industrial bourgeoisie which it counted on in the past, so a coup is not probable in the current situation. Still, there is a possiblity of a new war; although the AKP does not seem to be in favor of such a move at the moment, it is almost certain that there are going to be operations in Northern Iraq against the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan - Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the armed Kurdish nationalist group which has camps there, and it is hard to predict what such operations will lead to. There is also a possibility of a deepening of internal conflict, more ethnic and religious violence, increased state terror and more terrorist attacks by the PKK and so on. In any case, the future the bourgeoisie offers, as in every other part of the world, is not bright.

As communists, obviously we should analyse the political situation and the direction the bourgeoisie is leading society in, but also never forget that no matter which bourgeois factions fight against each other, the primary issue for us is the interests of the working class, class struggle born out of those interests and the alternative for a bright future born out of class struggle. Thus, the possible huge strikes at THY (Turkish Airlines) and in the textile industry, and, more importantly, the public workers’ salary negotiations, which are the determining factor for the wages of the whole class, as the public sector is the most militant and thus the key sector, are the main issues at the moment.

Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol

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