Internet statement 2001/12

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! 
Also circles of the big capital are, according to reports, taking part in the protests, apparently reproaching the government of incapability to reach a deal with the IMF, and attempting to realize their own kind of reforms in connection with the mass protests.



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. 
The earthquake of 1999 made it clear that the Turkish army which has everywhere distinguished itself as suppressor, is not able to provide elementary help in such a big catastrophe. Probably thousands still died slowly in the ruins as the army did not bring help. Almost in any other country the army immediately lends its hand, but here we have an army of 600.00 with all the logistics and vehicles at its disposal, which shows only a minimal effort and leaves it to forces from abroad to bring help. This scandal is not yet forgotten today. 
It is the Turkish upper strata, comprador-like and subservient to NATO, which are unable to master tasks of a more complicated character. At best, they swam on the economic tide when the great economic upturns starting from East Asia caught the whole world. Then Turkey, too, was somewhat better off than today. But since this upturn has given way to a crisis, it becomes clear that the Turkish development had been unindependent.
The protests attack in particular also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which here as in all countries strives to push through the lowest and most brutal standards. 

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 Turkey.
So it will be of decisive importance that these people support each other in the struggle against these regimes, as a very far-reaching transformation of the structures of these countries is inevitable.

Support the great movement of the Turkish people! 


 Editorial  staff of  Neue Einheit
 April 13, 2001