ILCL - International Library of the Communist Left
[last] [home] [content] [end] [search]

If linked: [French] [German] [Italian] [Spanish]


Reinforcement of the bourgeois dictatorship in Turkey

Reinforcement of the bourgeois dictatorship in Turkey
[top] [content] [end]

On September 12, 1980, the Turkish army took power directly in hand by suppressing all political parties, dissolving the Chamber of deputies and suspending the constitution. This coup d'état fits into a long period of serious economic, social and political tensions during which the Turkish bourgeoisie, behind a democratic veneer, has regularly strengthened its policy of oppression against the proletariat, the impoverished peasants and the Kurds in order to preserve the infamous social order of capitalism.

Now, the state and the army have a completely free hand to indulge in an even more systematic repression against the worker's movement in Turkey, without even having to pretend that they are respecting the deceitful mask of bourgeois democracy. They can go ahead with massive arrests of combative workers and militants, with tortures, with searches of working class districts like in the Kurdish villages, and with executions. Up to now, two militants of the extreme left have already been executed and nearly a hundred have been condemned and are in danger of being hung at any moment. Of course, to create illusions, the military has also arrested some militants of the extreme right and even their leader Turkez, and are said to have hung a well-known fascist whose lawyer, curiously enough, was not present at the time of the execution. But this cannot fool anyone: the military terror's only objective is to prolong the repression carried out by bourgeois democracy against the proletariat in order to clean out every place where there is social agitation.

In fact, the overt terror exercised by the army (this is its third intervention since 1960) is nothing but the natural result of the permanent action conducted by the state within a democratic framework to smash an ever-increasing social agitation and the courageous struggles carried out by the working class to defend itself against the intensification of capitalist exploitation and oppression. (Each time that the parliamentary framework has been insufficient, the army has intervened to clear a new terrain which allows the revival of the democratic poison, while reinforcing the state.) Thus, since the last military intervention in 1971, the democratic veneer which has been applied through the alternation in power of the two bourgeois parties, the Justice Party and the People's Republican Party, aided by their two satellites, the pro-fascist National Action Party and the pro-Islamic Party of National Safety, has allowed the bourgeoisie to monopolise the political scene in order to channel the worker's movement into the ruts of electoralism and interclassism.

But at the same time, capitalist democracy had strengthened itself more each day by using on the one hand, the legal violence of the courts, the police and especially the army in setting up a state of siege in several provinces since the time of the large strike movement of June 15-16, 1970 and since then renewed most democratically by the bourgeois parliament. On the other hand, capitalist democracy reinforces itself by using the para-legal violence of the National Action Party's commandos, who can indulge in massacres and daily crimes against the combative workers and militants of the extreme left with impunity. As we have stated on several occasions, this clearly demonstrates that in Turkey, like elsewhere, the state, the constitution, the laws, the parliament, the police, the army and the commandos together make up the armed fist of bourgeois democracy, and that, far from being incompatible, democracy and fascism go together in order to defend bourgeois order.

This strategy of the bourgeoisie was intended to paralyse a more and more restless working class by enclosing it in a legalist and interclassist parliamentary framework, thanks to the reformist lies of the People's Republican Party, and the overt betrayal of the so-called leftist parties and the opportunist leadership of the DISK (trade unions) and thanks to the criminal blindness of the extreme left groups which, through pacifist or violent orientations, have all recommended supporting a fraction of the bourgeoisie judged to be more progressive, against another fraction, more openly conservative and thus termed more dangerous. The result was that the army and commandos could all the more easily strike a workers' movement which was disoriented (in spite of the magnificent movements of revolt like in Izmir in February, 1980) whose most combative elements were most often reduced to committing isolated acts of violence and individual terrorism, while bourgeois repression was developing in a more and more organised and centralised way. Thus, the stupidity of an interclassist popular front strategy confined the sincere elements, who felt in a confused way that it was false, to an individual form of violence and objectively hindered the development of a large movement of proletarian self-defence.

Starting from the moment when the western imperialisms (the USA and West Germany at the head), who where worried about the risks of destabilisation in a region of great strategic importance, decided to supply financial aid, it became evident that the Turkish bourgeoisie had to devote themselves to preventing any possibility of a resumption and extension of the workers' struggle and to decisively smashing the workers' movement in order to justify this international counter-revolutionary solidarity and to profit from it to the maximum. This is the real meaning of the September 12, 1980 coup d'état, whose goal is to centralise, systematise and enlarge the state repression and terror, while appearing to struggle against a daily and extended fascist terror, which it incited and supported for a long time, but which was becoming insufficient and useless by itself in safeguarding the bourgeois social order. This demonstrates once again that fascism is the natural product of capitalist democracy, which in Turkey is merely the pillar of support for the enslavement of the masses of proletarians, impoverished peasants and those without any means of existence.

This coup d'état has provoked a profound relief and a thorough understanding in all the western imperialist states. And what is more, these states had evidently prepared its success, since it was from the Turkish embassy in Washington that the coup was publicly announced to the whole world and, by sheer accident, it was preceded by the establishment of obligatory visas for Turks in West Germany, the Benelux countries and France, a measure which allows the strengthening of immigration control while closing the frontiers to the attempted escape of the militants who are being hunted down in Turkey. All the imperialist states who are so ready to wave the rag of the Rights of Man in order to denounce their rival, Russian imperialism, have declared themselves persuaded by the wish of the Turkish military to restore democracy on «healthy foundations» and convinced that is necessary to give them time, which amounts to actively supporting it. All these exploiters know perfectly well that in fact democracy and fascism are two complementary weapons in the service of their class domination.

As for the Turkish extreme left, it continues to remain the prisoner of democratic and interclassist anti-fascism. It calls all tendencies, no matter what they are, all democrats and progressives to denounce fascism, while without exception all the leaders of the People's Republican Party reacted to the coup d'état by... hoping that it will be beneficial for Turkey. Once again, instead of working, which it seems definitively incapable of, in order that the proletariat struggle independently of all bourgeois and petty-bourgeois influence, by opposing its own organisation and its own violence to the violence and organisation of the capitalists, this «extreme left» proposes an even broader popular front of struggle for a true democracy, without seeing that is the best way to paralyse every class response.

In addition, in place of calling for an international proletarian solidarity, these pseudo-revolutionaries prefer to whine to the parties of the left in Europe, who pretend to condemn the coup d'état in order to allow the bourgeoisie to control a real opposition movement and to defuse it. Thus, in order to obtain the support of the reformists of the left, these pseudo-revolutionaries denounce the crimes of the military junta alone, while keeping silent about all the crimes and massacres perpetrated by the previous democratic governments: they are even in retreat in comparison to the denunciation of the tortures carried out under the Ecevit and Demirel governments made by Amnesty International in the spring of 1980. As a result, not only do they stupidly remain prisoners of the bourgeois democratic trap, but they are contributing to the political and physical disarmament of the proletariat faced with the dictatorship of capital.

This is why today, while capitalist forces control the entire political terrain with an overt dictatorship, just like tomorrow, when they will again take cover behind a democratic mask in order to better preserve their class monopoly, the perspectives for struggle remain the same for revolutionary communists: the proletariat's resolute class struggle independent of all bourgeois or petty-bourgeois influence; the union of all workers against daily exploitation and oppression and/or the defence of their conditions of life, work and struggle; in order to prepare the working class for the armed insurrection which alone will allow the overthrow of the capitalist state and the setting up of the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Lenin said, in the epoch of capitalism and imperialism the only alternative is: either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat.

But for this perspective to be achieved, it is essential that the proletariat arm itself with its indispensable organ, a communist and internationalist Party which will regroup the combative working class around the programme of the communist revolution. Only this party will be able to lead the workers of Turkey, and following them, all the oppressed masses, on the path of emancipation and victory by seizing power by force, by setting up the proletarian dictatorship and by working for the extension of the communist revolution throughout the region and throughout the entire world.

«A communiqué from the coordination committee of the state of siege command, made public on December 25, 1980 at Ankara, indicates that in the course of the last three months (from September 10 to December 10, 1980) 29,995 activists have been arrested throughout the territory, 8,500 of which have already been charged, while 8,517 others are still being sought...
The number of deaths during the same period stands at 215, of which 27 were police or soldiers, 70 were activists killed in the course of skirmishes with the forces of order and 118 were persons assassinated by terrorists. In addition, there have been 368 wounded

Source: «Communist Programm», No. 7, Sept. 1981

[top] [content] [last] [home] [mail] [search] [webmaster]