The July 15 failed coup in Turkey demonstrated the power of the people against the force of arms. But it has also opened the doors for large-scale repression by the Turkish establishment led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which is exploiting mass anger against the attempted putsch to the fullest and this has to be resisted.
Before the coup, President Erdoğan, was already doing the best he could to curtail democratic rights as much as he could. The Justice and Development party (AKP) which he leads represents a section of the Turkish bosses which has its roots in the New Outlook Movement established in the 1960s by Necmettin Erbakan, who was head of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Turkey.
The trend they represent came in collision with the military establishment which was the backbone for modern Turkey from the period of dictatorship led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. His followers are known as Kemalists, drawing from his middle name.
Turkey’s population is predominantly Muslim. While the Kemalists are of the view that secularism is essential for building a modern industrial society, those sections of the bosses arrayed around Erdoğan see the possibility of using an Islamist ideology as instrument for populist rule.
But the different sections of the Turkish ruling class have been united in repressing the Kurds who are a minority in Turkey. They have also been united in ensuring that Turkey remains an errand boy for United States and Western imperialism in the region as a balancing force against Syria, Iran and Iraq, over the years.
The America-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Erdoğan has held responsible for planning the failed coup used to be a close ally of the president. It was only in 2013 after Mr Gulen criticised the Turkish government over its crushing of the Gezi park protests and particularly the closing of Gulen’s private schools that they fell apart.
Gulen schools exist in several parts of the world, including in Nigeria. Turkey has already accused a Nigerian bank of funnelng funds for the failed coup and also called for the closing of the Gulenist Nigeria-Turkish schools in the country.
It is arguable that the news of the coup when it was being planned leaked to the Turkish state. But it was allowed to commence to strengthen the hands of Erdoğan against the Kurds and pro-working class people parties such as the HDP. Erdoğan is definitely using the this macabre opportunity to the fullest.
265 people were killed resisting the coupists. But in its wake, more than 50,000 people have been detained, sacked or suspended from work. The Turkish state is also considering a re-introduction of the death penalties.
Erdoğan has assumed more dictatorial powers, claiming to wield it on behalf of the people. More than ever before, the international working class must demand genuine democracy in Turkey. None of the contending sections of the bosses’ class in that country can deliver this. A new Turkey would emerge from the unity and struggle of working class Turks in unity with the oppressed poor working people and youth in Kurdistan fighting for self-determination which has cost over 6,000 lives. We say NO TO THE AKP DICTATORSHIP! FIGHT FOR A SOCIALIST TURKEY!!
by Segun Ogun