What is going on in Turkey?
-- Two commentaries --
The most recent phase
of Turkey’s galloping economic crisis starts with the decontrol of the
rate of exchange on Feb. 19. The external debt had risen to more than 100
billion US-$ already in 1998 and showed rapid increases, strikes had spread.
Already in the end of 2000, the country had been subjected to an IMF crisis
program in order to restitute its international credit worthiness, which
established a fixed rate of exchange between the Turkish lira and the US-$.
Now the rate of exchange is abruptly decontrolled, and a massive fall follows
immediately, which up to today has annihilated appr. 40-50 % of the lira’s
value. An immediate emergency situation for wage-earners, lots of bancruptcies
of small tradespeople and minor capitalists are the consequence. Anti-government
protests and calls like "IMF out of Turkey!" are, according to the media,
widespread. On April, 11, the largest protest demonstrations so far occurred
in Ankara, Izmir and other centres. Already for April, 14, new strikes
and large protest manifestations are planned, in the course of which also
heavier confrontations may happen. Down with the ban against demonstrations
imposed by the governor of Ankara until 1st of May!
Questions on the occasion of the economic downbreak of Turkey
The question must be asked whether it is not the whole military-bureaucratic dictatorship, the core of the Turkish state, supplemented by Islamic fundamentalism, weighing so heavily upon the Turkish people that this very capable people has no chance to gain ground economically.
Sometimes the opinion can be heard, also from Turkish workers, that the Turkish military regime was not the ideal one but anyway better than Islamic fundamentalism, and that the Turkish military were protecting the people and also the workers from its regime which would mean the complete enslavement of the workers and the women. But in fact this military state bears the characteristics of a comprador regime, uncapable of developing the potentials of such a country, and revolution, complete transformation along the lines of a new-democratic revolution is necessary first of all. Belonging to that is the defeat of Islamic fundamentalism, as it serves as the reserve for the entire reaction, and because as long as it is pressing against the whole country there neither will be possible a policy which, for example, puts through more democracy against the military. But until today no revolutionary force has achieved such a formation as to really offering a positive program showing the way forward for the entire people. Whether such forces are existent in Turkey, perhaps on a small scale, we cannot know from here, but it is not discernible.
This state of Turkey
is also corrupted by chauvinism which is cultivated since ancient times
and everywhere. It could be seen, for example, by the occupation of half
of Cyprus in spite of only one fifth of its population being of Turkish
origin, or in the presumptious rabble-rousing propaganda which gives a
lift to the Turkish expansion abroad via a part of the Turkish emigrants.
The Turkish rightist chauvinists and the Islamic fundamentalists share
this presumption which among other things may consist in encouraging to
take the citizenship of other countries but at the same time continuing
to tie these immigrants to the Turkish or Islamic chauvinism. All of these
intentions basically contradict the modern development of Turkey. Among
the workers as well as the craftsmen as also the smaller industrialists
in Turkey there are many efforts to catch up with the modern development,
but they can’t because this corrupt and brutal state bars them.
In the whole region
a transformation is inevitable, as the conditions cannot be economically
sustained any longer. In a different way, but similarly in principle the
regime of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran is shaking. Here a different grouping
is in power, representing less the old state comprador bourgeoisie as it
was in large parts typical for the Shah, but Islamic fundamentalist forces
instead which, however, equally represent the economic undermining and
the bureaucratic hindrance as does, for instance, the military caste of
Support the great movement of the Turkish people!
staff of Neue Einheit