The outbreak of circumstances of political instability in recent period in various countries of the world make business circles uneasy. Dissenting voices aroused even amongst the IMF itself or richest persons like Soros as if they intend to close the ever growing abyss between rich and poor. Of course, their sole concern is but to protect their own capitalist system from the threat of social explosion through some insignificant reforms. It is for this reason for instance that in the course of recent elections in Turkey or Brazil a political model has been put forward based on the phrase “IMF programme cannot be without a left party”. And a section of those bourgeois parties or political leaders that are likely to enjoy a mass support set out to develop a rhetoric and a political line in accordance with this. They began to appear in political arena along with an economic and political programme which is slightly seasoned with the sauce of so-called social justice. In Turkey it was the AKP who managed to win the chair of power overshadowing social democrat Ismail Cem or Deniz Baykal who had been presented before the elections as more suitable for this role. Whatever the results of the state-guided secularity tests carried out by Kemalist circles about this party, it was in fact the AKP which was the most suitable actor for this role.
Now those bourgeois parties which won the elections on a similar ground, but might seem more left here or more right there in terms of their political identities, intend to take a road seeking to reconcile the IMF programmes and pledges of reform. They are in favour of market economy and against the abyss between rich and poor at the same time! They are in favour of accelerating the privatisations on the one hand and are alleged to restructure the economy with a view to get rid of the evil of unemployment on the other hand! In brief, they claim to keep the existing capitalist system going by slightly reforming its malfunctioning parts. Is this possible in this conjuncture? What will be the fate and life of the governments pledging reforms in Turkey, which is sought to be dragged into an imperialist war in her next door, and in Brazil in the middle of such a Latin America convulsing amid revolutionary situations? This a separate matter. What we see for the time being is that a new type of political leaders who can win support among masses in some countries is given way for the sake of the system. For instance, in Brazil the PT and its leader Lula which stands on the left of the political spectrum claimed this role. In Turkey, on the contrary, it was the AKP, which seems on the right and is labelled as moderate Islam, and its leader Tayyip Erdogan. Political figures who are either emerging from the working class as in the case of Brazil or who are given the impression of having emerged from the pious public as in the case of Turkey! True, they are not coming from above via American coups, but elected by the electorate. But the common point is quite significant. Thus they seek to restore the trust of the electorate in the system, who had enough of the degenerate bourgeois politicians of the past period.
It is for this reason that the results of the recent elections in Turkey were received with great pleasure on the front of the capital. After a long period of political instability and weak coalition governments, the setting up of a one-party government which ensured the required majority in the parliament was regarded as the beginning of a new period of stability. Although the fact that the AKP has emerged out of a political tradition which has been representing the political Islam in Turkey caused some unease among the Kemalist circles, the existence of an opposition party like the CHP (Republican People’s Party) in the parliament would provide the balance they desired. Although the AKP has won such a majority that allow them to amend even the constitution, it was impossible anyway to cut down at once the role of the army which is directly involved in politics. Also the existence of a President whom they regard as their representative was an extra guaranty from the point of view of the traditional statist forces who have shaped the Republic of Turkey on the basis of the Kemalist ideology. As one can understand from these factors, in spite of the one-party government which caused a mood of rejoice among the big business circles, the ground for the political instability in Turkey had not in fact been eliminated yet.
Thus the representatives of various foreign and domestic powers, which have their respective weights felt, immediately jumped onto the stage when the Copenhagen summit came onto the agenda. As a result, the new AKP government, which stepped up its efforts to join the EU with the hope of getting a definite date for the start of negotiations, found itself in a mess even in its first days. In fact this is no surprise. Because the conflict of interests among different powers both inside and outside the country is still going on. For instance, it should not be expected from the forces of “deep state”, which have been for a long time resisting the changes for joining the EU, to obediently abandon the stage owing to the optimistic expectations and consensus aroused on the front of the capital after the advent of the AKP government. More importantly, in a period when the world capitalist system is heading towards a crisis, it is inevitable that the endeavours of imperialist powers to pull Turkey towards different directions due to the aggravating conflict of interests among themselves. As a matter of fact, that the bourgeoisie is pushing a mood of rejoice saying “finally a one-party government is set up and now we will have stability” at a time when the war drums are beaten in the region where Turkey is in, is but an illusion they seek to create.
In the middle of the battle field
In the recent period it has been frequently reiterated in connection with the debates on the EU that Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia. True, Turkey has got a very important geo-strategic position. For instance, it is said that Turkey is going to become the key point of the network of distributing the Eurasian oil and natural gas. This is very important for the interests of the European countries as well. For Europe is more dependent on the Middle East oil than the US. Since Turkey is in the centre of Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East which play a key role from the point of view of the stability in Europe, it is impossible for Europe to sustain a rational security policy disregarding Turkey. Moreover, since Turkey is also one of the strategic members of the NATO, a “European Security and Defence Policy” is inconceivable without Turkey.
Having raised its expectations due to this state of affairs, Turkish bourgeoisie is eager to demonstrate its might. But to handle this problem is not as easy as expected, and much less on the table of diplomacy. Because Turkey has in fact become the battle field in the middle of the wars of hegemony in a period when the conflict of power, particularly between Germany, the leader of Europe, and the USA, is aggravated. The clashes that found an echo in the last Copenhagen summit and bargains of the USA over the use of the bases in Turkey provide the most obvious evidence for this.
It has been said that a new period had begun with the AKP government set up after the November 3 elections and that this would have a positive effect on every problem, particularly the relations between Turkey and the EU. The optimists on the bourgeois front began to tell us we could at last break our misfortunes and Turkey would proudly pass through the gate of Europe. They were so self-convinced that they began to regard it nearly certain that Turkey could get a negotiation date from the EU for 2003. With these expectations even the USA was made involved in this as a logistic support. But in its efforts to undermine the French-German alliance by adding Turkey to the rank of its allies like Britain, Italy, Spain, the US move backfired for the time being.
Those who were worried about the possibility of Turkey being the Troyan horse of the US in the EU regarded this intervention of the US as “a scandalous inappropriateness”. It seems that the US support did not make things better, on the contrary proved counterproductive. Reckoning to get its share in the new struggle for division in the Middle East and receive the credits that can help the economy Turkish bourgeoisie found itself amid the tensions between Franco-German axis and Anglo-American alliance. The hopes of those sections who were expecting a definite negotiation date were dashed when the Copenhagen summit agreed to give a date of the kind “we’ll look into it later” for December 2004. Thus the Copenhagen summit turned out to be a new turning point which revealed once again that the fate of Turkey was dependent on the rivalry between the EU and the USA. The Turkish bourgeoisie who sought to play a double-sided game and hit two birds with one stone utilising the conflict of interests between the EU and the USA was slapped down.
Struggle for division intensifies
The question of Cyprus has not been resolved in the Copenhagen summit as well. Yet the people of Northern Cyprus was expecting an immediate peaceful solution in the island and that Cyprus should join the EU as a whole. Nevertheless, Denktash and the bureaucracy and the army circles that support him in Turkey stood up as an obstacle in front of the people of Northern Cyprus. Since that day the trade unions and people in general have been afoot and the slogan of “Denktash, resign!” echoed in the streets. Now Germany and France remind the sensitive issues like that there is not yet a satisfactory improvement as to the democratisation in practice and that nothing much has been done to resolve the question of Cyprus. Thus they hint it would be very difficult to give a definite date. The government has to prepare a new national programme and carry out a number of reforms to satisfy the Copenhagen criteria. In the new national programme the Copenhagen criteria are planned to be in force by August 1, 2004. Until then, some radical steps like releasing of Leyla Zana and her friends, launching of broadcasting in Kurdish, preventing torture are stipulated to be taken. The most difficult task awaiting the government is said to be to place the General Staff of the army under the Ministry of Defence. Another important task of the AKP government is to provide a solution until February 28 on the question of Cyprus in the framework of Annan’s plan. The clearest result of the Copenhagen summit was that Cyprus has stopped being a card of Turkey in the bargains and turned into a card of Europe. Now the establishment in Turkey is trying to turn Northern Cyprus back into a card of their own. They are threatening that unless the way to Europe is opened for Turkey there will be no change in the status of Northern Cyprus and that this situation will continue to be a threat in the island.
As a matter of fact, the fact that the road map for Turkey to adapt to the Copenhagen criteria will have to be examined and approved by the EU is just the visible part of the iceberg. The issue is more about the new “Crusades” prepared by the USA in the vast region of Middle East, Far East, Caucasus to demonstrate its hegemony. Turkey is as if turned into a arena of bargain in which the rival imperialist powers put forward the cards like Cyprus question and Kurdish question. What a great source of success and stability on the part of the bourgeoisie!
But we should not underestimate this position, Turkey as the strategic partner of the big brother USA has a sub-imperialist role in its region and also its attitude has an effect on both the surrounding countries and Europe. The attitude of Turkey is important at a time when the USA struggles to prove that it will remain the only super power in the face of China and Russia as the new outstanding capitalist powers of the twenty first century. That is why the Turkish establishment, who does not find the conditions imposed by the EU and the US fully in its own interests, hints that it might go for some new quests for alternative unions. It is in this context that the organisation of cooperation called “Shanghai Five” made up of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tadzhikistan is noted and a “Eurasian vision” is mentioned.
The bourgeois commentators who now seem pessimistic about the EU express comments saying that the adventure of EU is finished. For us it is impossible to know at the moment the definite result of the EU-Turkey relations. Turkey will continue to be a matter of bargains at a time when the USA pushes the European countries to get its plans of aggression towards the Middle East approved by the UN. In the same way the EU holds the card of Cyprus for bargains against Turkey, the USA holds the cards of oil regions like Mosul and Kirkuk in Northern Iraq and of Kurdish question against Turkey. On the one hand, the Turkish bourgeoisie dreams of reclaiming the oil regions that used to be within their sovereignty at the time of Ottoman Empire. But on the other hand it has nightmares of Kurdish question that will be a hot issue in relation to a possible war in Iraq. The Turkish authorities kept reiterating that founding of a federal Kurdish state is a casus belli until now. In order to soothe Turkey the USA now make Talabani and Barzani, the Kurdish leaders in the Northern Iraq, say “we do not want an independent Kurdish state, but a federation within the territorial integrity of Iraq.” But who knows what can happen tomorrow once the war of division has started?
In pursuit of oil
Reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ironic verses about gold which had become the symbol of wealth in the mercantilist era of capitalism, the rivalry among the imperialists is now marked by oil. The imperialist powers that are struggling with each other to establish domination over the oil regions are now trying to drag humanity into a dark marsh. The biggest passion of the USA crying out belligerently today is to establish its supremacy over its rivals taking control of the oil regions and energy routes both in the Middle East and Caspian Sea.
The Middle East oil makes up 65% of the world’s oil. And Iraq has the richest oil reserves in the region. And Mosul and Kirkuk, the oil-rich regions of Iraq, have been the subject of the conflicts of interest since the Ottoman times. The problem of Mosul and Kirkuk is one of the most concrete examples of oil wars, which sometimes flares up and sometimes soothes depending on the ups and downs of the relations between great powers. Having come back onto the agenda with the aggravated struggle for re-division of the Middle East nowadays, this question opened the appetite of the Turkish bourgeoisie again and propelled them to make a reclaim opening the old books. All of a sudden, they remembered that they had to be delivered, according to a treaty signed with Britain in 1926, a share of 10 percent from the oil revenues of Mosul and Kirkuk for 25 years.
Iraq had fulfilled this liability for 13 years and then stopped paying that money. The accumulated debt of Iraq for the rest 12 years was included in the budget of Turkey until 1986 as claimed assets. Although it was taken out of the budget afterwards on Saddam’s request, Turkey did not give up claiming it, but just left the resolution of the problem for a more favourable time. Moreover, after the Baath government nationalised the oil industry in 1972 the oil revenues of Iraq has increased and accordingly Turkey’s claim has increased as well. Now, due to the changing balances in the region and Turkey’s promotion to the position of a strategic ally of the USA, the Turkish bourgeoisie reckons that awaited day has arrived. The Turkish authorities keep telling the USA that if the Iraqi oil is to be privatised again then Turkey should as well be given some opportunities in return for its old entitlements. If Iraq does not pay its debts then its sovereignty over Mosul should be brought into question.
And Kirkuk, which is regarded by the Northern Iraqi Kurds as their natural capital, is an important source of crisis because of the ambitions of the rulers of Turkey. On the basis of Turkoman population living in Kirkuk, the Turkish state desires Kirkuk to be in the hands of this Turkomen. It never desires Kurds to have the oil pits in Kirkuk, because it slyly reckons that without revenues of oil an independent Kurdish state cannot live on anyway. For this reason, it threatens to invade Northern Iraq in reply to the claims of Kurds in relation to Kirkuk. Thus, apart from US plans towards the region, the outlines of Turkey’s security policy in relation to Northern Iraq can be summed up as: preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq; never tolerate foundation of an independent Kurdish state; look forward to Kirkuk on the pretext of protecting Turkomen.
For this reason, the Turkish General Staff which is a loyal ally of the USA in NATO hesitates about the outcome of an Iraq war and demands an ultimate guarantee from the US of not permitting a Kurdish state. Nevertheless, Kurds on the other side of the border are waiting for the US intervention to make a move against the Saddam regime, hoping to have some concessions in their national interests. There is no magic formula to satisfy every party at the same time in the same way in this capitalist world divided by different national interests and national borders. It is inevitable that one party is going to be disappointed at the end of the day.
Kurds have got every right for national independence, but whether the expectations fostered amid the imperialist ambitions for division are of any use is a separate matter. It is quite likely that the Kurdish groups that are now sympathetic to the US intervention to Iraq on the basis of their national interests will be played on each other and then despised as in the previous world wars. We are not so naïve as to believe that the Bush administration, which is an agent of arms and oil industry aiming to change the map of the region in their own interests, is a just and loyal guarantor of self-determination of nations! In brief, whatever problem to be brought into prominence in the region, a feverish settling of accounts among the imperialist powers is on the agenda of Turkey anyway. The game is not finished; on the contrary, the new struggle for division has just started to heat.
If you cannot overcome the crisis, then “arm”!
According to liberal bourgeois economists who present the membership to the EU as a panacea, the GDP per capita will be as low as $3258 by 2012 should Turkey not join the EU. If it joins and attracts direct foreign investment with an annual growth rate of 2 percent, this figure will turn out to be $8958, they say. Such capitalist dreams for future are fine, but how can we forget our suffering due to the crisis of world capitalist system and the bitter realities of Turkish capitalism while we are awake? The rate of people living under international poverty line in Turkey is 18 percent, which means 12.5 million people are bound to live on $2 per day. The richest 10 percent get 32.3 percent of national income while the poorest 10 percent get 2.3 percent. With its $2160 GDP per capita after the crisis of 2001, Turkey is now in the same category of countries as Peru, Iraq, Namibia, Bulgaria.
Turkish economy had shrunk by 10 percent in 2001. The number of unemployed has risen to 10 million with the participation of 2 million sacked workers after the last crisis. Although the bourgeois economists say that the economic crisis is being overcome in Turkey and try to spread optimism making high estimations for the growth rate like 3 percent or even more, the OECD points out the obstacles on economic growth, like, for instance, the troubled credits in the banking sector and the risk of war in Iraq. The total debt of Turkey has reached to $207bn and she constantly needs to borrow money to sustain its debt servicing. Let us assume for a moment that Turkey would draw some capital from the EU and US sources by doing its “homework” well as she was cautioned. But can we predict the fissures that can be deepened among the EU countries due to their own crisis, or the outcome of the struggle for hegemony, for instance, between Germany and the USA that can further be aggravated?
As a matter fact, apart from Turkey, the imperialist countries cannot see the way in front of them very well due to the deepening crisis of world capitalist system. Before they plunged into such a crisis bourgeois ideologues who reiterate “novus ordo seclorum” (new world order) like the church sextons, now seek to invent new concepts that can correspond to the current situation. The latest World Economic Outlook report appraises the growth estimates for the world economy as “a cautious recovery”. They have to use the term “cautious” because they know that the US economy, which is the power engine of the system, has still a lot of serious problems, the state of affairs in Europe is not brilliant, and the situation in Japan has already been very unpleasant.
Even the top finance institutions of the capitalist system admit that the growth rate for 2003 and 2004 of the world economy will be quite low. This fact is said to have been accepted by everyone and it is also said that the uncertainty awaiting the future of the world economy is the main problem rather than the growth rates. The fundamental problem that concerns the ideologues of capitalism is whether the system can go out of economic recession and pass into a significant revival and upswing. But there is a definite fear which is namely the possibility of world economy to go into a spiral of deflation (persistence of recession despite the low level of prices). Therefore, measures to revive the demand are reconsidered, the Keynesian theory books that are said to have placed into shelves during the boom period are now taken out of shelves and given prominence. Now it is frequently expressed that Keynesian policies, which mean seeking to overcome economic recession through increasing public expenditures, are not alternative to market economy, but, on the contrary, such measures are necessary to preserve the capitalist market. Trying to increase the expenditure of people who are struck by the economic crisis, bourgeois economists advise people to “spend more” as if ridiculing them. But what have they got to spend? Those advisers have not yet found the answer of this question.
But there is one thing which is a burning fact of today, namely that the super power of the world, i.e. the US, has opted for increasing the armament expenditures as much as possible as a remedy. American authorities are in favour of military spending as much as possible even there is no war and of thus pushing a new balance based on the force of arms. And the representative organisation of European private sector, UNICE, warns the EU countries about the stagnating economy, pointing out that the growth rate is low, consumers feel insecure, investors are not enthusiastic, markets are not flexible and recommending to follow the US example to revive the economy.
The US alone counts for 40 percent of the world military expenditures. Its defence expenditures are increasing, reaching $300bn and making the defence budget rise to record levels. The arms sector, which has been in difficulty after the end of Cold War, is now said to be flourishing making a comeback. The amount of increase in US defence budget after September 11 demanded by Bush is greater than the total defence budget of Britain. The budget of US defence ministry (Pentagon) is nearly equal to the sum of military expenditures of the subsequent nine countries. Such a situation is said to be unprecedented. This fact means more than figures appearing in the pages of newspapers which are the mouthpiece of high finance circles, that is a life and death question for thousands of people. Every single dollar that would serve to revive the US economy sets off a brutal journey towards battle fields in the guise of modern weapons threatening thousands of workers and toilers in the Middle East or Far East. The USA is now bargaining for this with Turkey. The US imperialists seek to keep the defence expenditures high, theorising that an indefinite period of wars has been entered. For instance, a complete renewal of Turkish air force is on the agenda. This program can be maintained with US financial aid. Moreover, it seems that the US intends to use much of the credits it promises to Turkey for armament expenditures under the guise of modernising the NATO bases in Turkey. An investment of $200m is on the agenda in relation to the bases and ports to be modernised.
It is obvious that the US imperialism has made up a pretext called “struggle against international terrorism” to get out of the current economic recession. And accordingly, it is said that the company KBR which is a part of the company Halliburton which used to be chaired by Dick Cheney, the US deputy president, is directly making profit from “war against terror”. This company, which has been for years providing services like food, construction, fuel transport and electricity production, has recently signed a contract with the army for 10 years. It is said that the company would, thanks to this contract, cover the 60 percent loss in its share prices due to the economic recession. To give another example, we can remember the budget of $30bn size approved by the Congress for the struggle against terror. Nearly half this budget has directly gone to Pentagon and the best part of it has been used in purchasing new weapons. So blatant everything is!
Crises give birth to new crises
The American imperialism expects a lot from the new AKP government in Turkey which, as a strategic ally of the US, is varnished to be a model for the Middle East countries. The new government is told that it will be treated generously in terms of debt postponements, new credits or inflow of foreign capital, i.e. that its “service” will be appreciated, if it acts in accordance with the role tailored for it. The USA is pleased with and backs the AKP government which is regarded as a model to be presented to other Moslem countries as an example that demonstrates the compatibility of Islam and democracy. But it is not as easy as imagined for the AKP government, which has won a great support among the Moslem masses, to carry this new model of government expected from it in the podium of world politics. The AKP government, whatever the orientation or the intention of its leadership, is trying to get along under various pressures from different directions. It has to do politics taking into account the sensitive spots of Ataturkist secular layers, the army, president, etc. for its own sake, without opening Pandora’s box inside. And that means that its hand is not as free as it pleases on issues like the constitutional amendments, which is one of the pledges that carried them to power, and the package of democratisation in connection with the Copenhagen criteria.
It is for this reason that even in the early days of the AKP government the political stage was shaken by a mini earthquake while everyone was expecting a stability. When the course of events is examined carefully, the fault line that caused the tremor can be seen through the fog. The bureaucrats and the generals who are not willing to solve the Cyprus problem, taking sides with Denktash, on the one side, and the USA on the other side, who exerts pressure on Turkey on the question of bases and who tries to intimidate Germany due to her attitude in the EU towards Turkey. And Deniz Baykal, the opposition leader in parliament, who began to attack the AKP making a sudden turn. He used the words of foreign minister Yasar Yakis, who said “if there will not be an agreement until February 28, Turkish army could be accused of being an invader in Cyprus”, as the basis of his argument. A fuss was made around Yakis’ words which were distorted as if he said the Turkish army was an invader in Cyprus.
Amid this tense situation in Ankara a political assassination took place, which is significant in terms of its repercussions. The target was a university lecturer who is known as a researcher on German foundations in Turkey and the organised activities of Fettullah Gulen who is one of the prominent leaders of Islamist sections. Apart from the question of who are the perpetrators behind this murder, as if more than one birds are intended to be hit with one stone, both Germany is intended to be incriminated and the AKP government is threatened and also it is reminded that the “deep state” is still there as a source of crisis, or, that, if they please, the “dark forces” can anytime drag the government into turmoil with a new terror wave. What was significant however, apart from the aspects that remain always hidden in this kind of events, is the very coincidence of these developments, which hit the environment of stability expected from the AKP government, with the ongoing bargains between the USA and Turkish authorities for bases and war preparations in Iraq. According to some commentators, there has not been such a full and overcrowded agenda in Ankara since the Lausanne Treaty in 1923.
Although the situation seems to have calmed down afterwards, this multiparty game of politics in which everyone tries to get its presence felt in proportion to their power has not ended; the bargains are going on. For instance, president Sezer vetoed the constitutional amendments that allow the AKP leader Erdogan to stand in the by-elections in Siirt to be held on March 9. The university rectors rebelled against the AKP and the universities made a decision not to put government’s new emergency action plan into force. Turkey again changed her attitude on Cyprus towards a stalemate. The US keeps pushing her demands from Turkey in relation to war preparations. In fact, the situation is pregnant with new crises.
US preparations for war
Bush’s main concern is not a short term war but to establish the US in the region and he wants to get Turkey involved in this adventure to the end. To legitimise the war Washington puts forward, as a pretext, the argument that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. But the UN inspectors could not yet find any convincing evidence. Nevertheless, US secretary of defence, Rumsfeld, admitted that the inspections are in fact just a pretext saying “that there is no evidence does not mean that it’s not the case.” According to this logic it is quite possible, for instance, to argue that George W.Bush is in fact Usama Bin Laden. True, there is not “yet” satisfactory evidence, but “that there is no evidence does not mean that it’s not the case”!
In fact the US has already started military build-up in Northern Iraq without waiting for the UN resolution. This is enough to infuriate countries like France and Germany in the EU. Turkey is again in the middle of this problem. Because the military build-up in Northern Iraq is done through Turkish bases. For instance, the military equipment carried by US cargo planes to Turkey is passed through Habur border gate to Northern Iraq. The US asks for a “full collaboration” of Turkey. Bourgeois commentators state that an all-out rejection of the US requests would increase the damage, and on the other hand an all-out acceptance of requests would drag Turkey to uncharted waters. For this reason Ankara is in pursuit of a middle road which will not both offend “Big Brother” and completely isolate itself in the face of international community. But apart from the fact that it is impossible to find a safe middle way amid such high voltage power lines, those issues that Turkey can say “no” to the US are very limited.
Bourgeois commentators state that it is impossible for Turkey, whose relations with the EU are not going well and who, due to the crisis, needs the US support even to maintain her inner debt servicing, to challenge the US in a determined way. For instance there is no serious challenge on issues like opening the bases in Turkey for air raids to Iraq and allowing the US military planes to use the Turkish air zone. Turkey has already permitted the US officials to investigate and restructure the air and marine bases in southern region. From what is leaked to the press it is understood that the US demand for bases includes ports of Samsun and Trabzon on the Black Sea coast. These ports are guessed to have been asked for dispatching military equipment from Germany via Danube by means of Bulgarian and Romanian ships. Now the efforts of the US officials focus on whether Turkey will permit the ground transport of troops and the storage of military equipment or not. The US is said to ask urgently for only one thing from Turkey. She wants to use our Iraqi border as her logistic base and place 80000 US troops in Turkey to use as a formidable force for the time being, and as a combat force in case of war. The government is playing for time saying that the approval of the parliament is necessary in such issues. Ankara is supposed to give an answer due January 20, 2003 to the demands of Washington about air bases, ports, air zone, passage through Turkish territory and troops. The US is pushing Ankara threatening that she can consider other options “excluding Turkey” in Northern Iraq in case of a negative answer.
In fact, the Turkish establishment wants to get along together with the UN and wait until the last minute. The statements made by the government and the AKP leader Erdogan are also in line with this. And this vacillating position annoys the USA. In brief, the dominant political forces in Turkey cannot cosy up to anyone. Now the stock exchange is going down in Turkey which was said, not long ago, just before the Copenhagen summit, to take off should it get a negotiation date from the EU. It seems that the role the USA designed for Turkey in a possible Iraq war has put the AKP government into trouble. It is not easy at all for the AKP to drag Turkey into war while being left alone with an Islamic identity in the middle as the only Moslem government to give support to the USA.
The Turkish bourgeoisie, along with its government, opposition and General Staff, is passing through hard days due to the tensions created by the pressure of the USA who is counting days for a possible war in Iraq. While trying to calm down for the time being in the waiting room with a view to gain time they present themselves to the public as opponents of war. As the report of UN inspectors is being waited for until January 27 anyway, it is easy for the time being to attempt to deceive people saying “we don’t want war, we are in favour of a peaceful solution”. That the working, toiling grass roots of the ruling party AKP are honestly opposing war, or that there are dissenting voices rising within the party does not change this fact, but would make things just a bit more difficult for the government. When the war in Iraq will turn into a reality, it will be seen that the main concern of the bourgeois forces is to take part in the fight for division, and that conflicts of interest lie beneath today’s twists or those attitudes seemingly challenging the USA. In reality, they will have to get along the same way once the war breaks out, because of both their engagement with the USA and their fear of the USA going alone in Iraq. Even before the last military bargains with the USA the Turkish bourgeoisie already had the following plan: to enter Northern Iraq with a substantial military presence before the operation starts, counter the refugee flow over there, and thus take control of Mosul and Kirkuk.
The fact that while the other NATO members oppose the US plans and insist on that the UN resolutions should be taken as basis, Turkey is alone siding with the US-Britain axis is not a pleasant situation for the Turkish establishment at all. Therefore a “miracle” is being waited for, and they are trying to find out whether there is a chance that the US could give up the military operation. The US officials who assert they will bring “democracy” to the Middle East say that the present dictatorships in the region cannot make peace because they need conflicts to legitimise the oppression over their peoples and direct their anger at a foreign enemy. What a joke! The US commentators forget the fact that the Bush administration itself resorts to this method, or they simply disregard it! As a matter of fact the future of the regimes in Iraq and similar countries is doubtful. The despotic systems could sometimes collapse unexpectedly and abruptly. As the opposition in such regimes is not given a respite, they need to be sure about the toppling of the despot in order to come up. Once this condition is satisfied the despotic castles that are thought to be strong could collapse rapidly. Unless this happens, however they are unhappy with the regime, the opposition will twist, hide itself, pretend to be on the side of the despot.
Now a group within the Baath party is said to be likely to oppose Saddam in exchange for a place in the new government, and thus Iraq would bow to the demands of the UN and the USA. Although such an option is mentioned by the US authorities, Pentagon, in order this not to be perceived as a bluff and be an adequate threat, wants to carry on the military preparations anyway and the troops to be “in a state of emergency”. And isn’t such a likelihood exactly the “prolonged war” the USA desires anyway?
The USA plans to bring to knees now Iraq, tomorrow Iran and the other countries listed, say, without firing a single bullet, and replace the governments in these countries. Whether this plan will hold or not is a separate matter, but the Bush government intends to revive the economy and get control of oil regions thanks to this military expenditure that values billions of dollars. The USA offers Turkey to go in and control Northern Iraq together on condition that she accepts everything the US says. But the Turkish establishment hesitates as they are concerned about the possibility that losses can be much more than the gains. Remembering the undelivered promises of the previous Gulf War and the losses they experienced, they require in the first place guarantees for a compensation of possible economic damage.
In brief, one should never be misled by the cheap heroism of the Turkish bourgeoisie - its government, official opposition, organisations of capital, General Staff - that gives a false impression of anti war attitude. There cannot be a common point between the genuine anti war attitude of the overwhelming majority of the working class and toiling masses and the attitude of bourgeoisie. Because their problem is not their conscience but wallets. What troubles them is not mutual massacring of sons of poor people but whether they will profit from the adventure of war they will set out. Now the Turkish bourgeoisie comparatively reckons the loss and profit in case of both giving and not giving support to war in Iraq. So the prospect of an imperialist war exposes the disgusting face of capitalism in a blatant way. It is as if not a threat of war which will jeopardise lives of a lot of people, but a capital investment which is finely reckoned whether it will be profitable or not. In this order of profit which turns everything into commodity the cost of human life in the balance sheets of capital barons is indexed either to dollar or oil prices.
Salvation lies in the struggle
We always reiterate: the working class is either organised and everything or disorganised and nothing! Unless the working class takes its place in the stage of politics with its leading and organised power, real politics will continue to be consisted of political rivalries among various bourgeois sections. Just as the case we have been experiencing for a long time. In other words, unless the working class begins to shake the existing order with its own political alternatives, the agenda will be determined by the rivalries among various bourgeois political forces like liberals, Kemalists, Islamists, pro and anti Europeans, those who intend to support US plans and those do not, and so on. Yet there is no common point at all between the fundamental interests of the working class and toiling masses and those bourgeois alternatives like “whether a pro-European Turkish capitalism or a pro-US one does well?” The only salvation of the working class and toiling masses is possible if this capitalist order is put an end to, irrespective of which imperialist power is approached.
But on the other hand it should not be forgotten that as long as capitalism exists in Turkey or in any country that country will take part in this or that imperialist alliance. Thus when the debates like joining the EU get heated it will be of no use for the working class and toiling masses to come up allegedly in the name of left using phrases like “national interests” and defend a self-styled order called “native capitalism”. Moreover, one should not underestimate the danger of defending, for instance, “national interests” and helping, allegedly in the name of opposing the EU, those reactionary forces who intends to invite repressive regimes in Turkey. As everyone says nowadays, the most urgent thing for the workers and toilers is to have jobs, raise the quality of life, put an end to oppression and bring democratisation. But how can this be possible?
The AKP government has been making various promises on this issue since before the elections. Having utterly fed up with long periods of oppression, the burden of economic crisis, and those corrupt governments in pursuit of rent, the masses need to believe that at least some of these promises will be delivered. But, with time, they will understand that the AKP government is but the reign of big business as well. It’s all clear! Now it is the AKP, which is supposed to have a moderate Islamic faith, and not the old parties of the order, which is in the government; will there be a difference in vital issues? Not at all! Will it not be again the sons of workers and toilers to be sent to the front and slaughter each other? Will not the working class and toilers again be required to “sacrifice” on the pretext of “national interests”?
Even when they intend, at best, to do some slight improvements in comparison to the past, the AKP government will always require more from the workers and toilers. And we know very well that, whatever bourgeois government, religious or secular, is at work, all sacrifices expected from the working masses will always be justified with the tale of “national interests”. What “national interests” are they talking about in a country like Turkey that has progressed so much in capitalist lines and in which, thus, there is no common interests between bourgeoisie and the working class? What matters for the bourgeois of different countries in all issues like joining the EU, Cyprus question, Kurdish question, war in Iraq, which are the subjects of the struggles of division among imperialist powers, is only to profit in the reckoning of “giving-taking”.
There is a saying pious people reiterate: “Only God can give without having received.” In reality, this saying expresses a fact which prevails in all class societies. All social orders that involve exploitation of human beings by other human beings are based on the reckoning of “giving-taking”, and on requiring more and more from the producing, toiling classes. And this is all the more valid in this increasingly globalised capitalist system in which we live. To put an end to this situation, the reckoning of “giving-taking”, all conflicts arising from this, will only be possible thanks to the overthrow of capitalist order and establishing a working class power. And thus a classless, free-of-exploitation world will be established, in which all human beings on the earth can really live in peace, wealth and health. Unless all the workers and toilers of the world get organised and mobilised into struggle to create such a world, this unjust, unequal, rotten capitalist order based on exploitation and oppression of human beings by human beings will continue to exist, whatever bourgeois party comes to power. Let’s, then, get into struggle to put an end to the oppression and exploitation of imperialist capitalist system and imperialist wars all over the world!
No to imperialist wars!
Long live the international unity of struggle of the workers of the world!