Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/804/18368

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 March 2014

Turkey: new wave of protests

Corruption and police violence exposed

Festus Okay, Ankara

In the run-up to Turkey's local elections on 30 March, tensions are rising. The way in which Prime Minister Erdogan is clinging on to power regardless of the cost is causing outrage.

The death of the latest victim of police violence has triggered another mass uprising.

On 11 March, Berkin Elvan, the eighth victim of police violence, lost his fight for life. Berkin was on his way to get bread for breakfast on 16 June when he was hit in the head by a pepper-spray round. His murderers, just like other perpetrators of state violence, are still free.

As the tragic news came through, another wave of anger at the government and at Erdogan spread throughout Turkey. Demonstrations were called for the evening. But people began to gather in the morning.

For example, a man carried out a sit-down protest on the steps leading into a park in the centre of Ankara.

He sat down on the steps with a piece of bread and waited silently for hours. Within a short time, many people gathered around him. By the afternoon, there were several thousand.

At the same time, students in many universities boycotted lectures and made their way to the city centre. A group of 5,000 students were attacked on their way by the police.

Although the demonstration was not due to start until 6.30pm, there were thousands of people at the location by 3pm.

University students, school students, industrial workers, office staff, left groups, Kurds and Alawites all joined together to chant: "The murderous state must be brought to account", "Berkin's murderer is the AKP's police" or "Erdogan, murderer!"

By the time the police attacked from all sides, it was not even 6pm yet. The crowd ran into the clouds of smoke which blocked their escape routes and quickly covered the whole square.

Running through traffic in the surrounding streets, people tried to protect their heads from the hails of gas pellets coming down from above, while running away.

It all happened in a matter of seconds. Cries could be heard, as well as the sounds of coughing and panicking people.

After running for a while, the crowd had dispersed everywhere. A kind of running battle developed between the police and some young protesters, and continued late into the night.

The following day, 11 March, Berkin was buried. Hundreds of thousands of people attended his funeral in Istanbul.

Directly after the burial of the youngest victim of the 'Gezi rebellion', there were further acts of police terror.

The crowd was attacked with the same methods and more street battles with the police took place. Many people were injured and arrested.

Corruption

Since the Gezi uprising, nothing has been the way it was before. Erdogan's reputation as being invincible has been severely damaged by week-long mass protests.

In addition to this, there were a number of revelations of major corruption scandals which led to the resignation of four of his ministers.

Behind these revelations, which caused a crisis of the state, is a bitter struggle between the government and its former ally, the 'Gülen network', named after the preacher Fetullan Gülen.

He lives in the USA and represents a section of the Turkish bourgeoisie, through which the network has influence in key areas of the police and justice system.

While the government and the Gülen network, which Erdogan refers to as a "parallel state", trade blows, more dirt is coming to the surface.

Every day new audio recordings of conversations are revealed, making the scale of the scandal ever clearer.

In one of these recordings, a telephone conversation between Erdogan and his son, Erdogan is heard informing his son about a police raid on the sons of ministers and advising him to remove money from his home.

It is clear from the conversation that the money belongs to Erdogan and that the sums in question are very large.

After further phone calls, Erdogan's son tells the prime minister that only the 'small' sum of €30 million remained.

There is a strong opposition against Erdogan. As he is fearful that his opponents - the working class or sections of the ruling class - will hold him to account, Erdogan cannot afford to back down.

New laws give him control over the justice system. Investigations against army generals and members of the MIT intelligence services cannot be terminated without his permission.

A new telecommunications body gives Erdogan the opportunity for easier censorship - as with his recent banning of Twitter.

Capitalist divisions

There is a re-alignment underway among the ruling class. Until recently, the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) was part of a common front with the Gülen network and the employers' associations - the so-called Anatolian capitalists.

The Kemalist opposition party, the CHP (Republican People's Party), the military and the association of the old capitalists, TÜSIAD, made up the opposing front.

It was the AKP which gained significant support in 2010 from a wide spectrum of left-liberal intellectuals and layers of society, because it stood up against the power of the military.

In this context, a large number of people, including former members of the army general staff, were arrested and tried in the so-called Ergenekon trials, and last summer were sentenced to life in prison.

While Erdogan cast himself as a kind of public prosecutor, the CHP styled itself as the defence lawyer in this dispute.

Now it is becoming clear that the wind can turn in the completely opposite direction, when the power of the ruling class is at stake.

Erdogan's future

Confronted with an increasingly radicalised mass movement and a new alliance of the Gülen movement and the CHP, the AKP is jumping into bed with the army and state forces.

At the same time, Erdogan is trying to shore up his base by means of fostering division. During one of his election rallies, Erdogan called Berkin a terrorist and incited the audience to boo the victim's mother.

One thing is certain: The question is not if, but when Erdogan will go. There is already a crisis of the state and the legal system is widely seen as bankrupt.

President Abdullah Gul challenged Erdogan's ban of Twitter after the prime minister said he would "wipe out" the service, which he claims spread allegations of corruption in his ruling circles.

Many people speculate whether the elections at the end of March will take place or not. The government is trying to use censorship, increased state violence and undemocratic laws to sustain its power.

It is preparing a major offensive, not just against the movement, but also against the opposing faction of the capitalist class.

Despite the fact that the opposition is becoming more radicalised by the day, the AKP still retains the largest support among the population, not least because of the relative stability of the economy.

But they will suffer losses. The question is how much their vote will decrease by. It is very likely that there will be an early general election.

Only this could temporarily calm the situation because people will adopt a "wait and see" attitude.

Neither has the government taken steps to improve the rights of the Kurds. But, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) has given the government until the elections to act. So Erdogan's ability to play the divide and rule card has been undermined.

The left

The left is on the front line of the protest movement but its lack of political perspectives and programme prevents it from giving the movement clear direction.

It is an accurate summary to say that the left embraced the movement but the masses have not yet embraced the left.

However it is possible that there could be new developments in this regard after the local elections.

These polls will be the first stage of significant political events which will play out in Turkey over the next few months and even years.

It is vital that the left is built in this process, so workers and youth find the best possible way to build the workers' movement.

Marxist ideas are needed in this process to build towards a mass party, rooted in the working class, to show a way out of the nightmare of capitalism and repression.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 26 March 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

No to junk jobs

Fight for a £10 an hour minimum wage

2014 Budget: More misery for the majority

Killed asylum seeker - victim of racism and privatisation

Pensions: Osborne's 'counter-revolution'

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: new wave of protests


Socialist Party youth and students

Defaults reveal student debt madness

Jobmatch: yet another fiasco of privatisation

Leeds protest: stop the student loan sell-off

Young people: alienated, not apathetic


Socialist Party workplace news

Probation workers' action can defeat privatisation

Teachers must fight on to stop Gove

Doncaster care workers determined to win

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

The great miners' strike 1984-85

Adventures in bedroom tax land


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

A socialist alternative to the austerity parties

Bristol council: Voting for cuts, voting for careers

It's the system that's ill

'Optimistic' Bluebirds protest

Marching against racism

May Day greetings with the Socialist


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 March 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Turkey:

triangleLondon: Support event for education workers in Turkey

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleTurkey: constitutional referendum result a pyrrhic victory for Erdogan

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

triangleTurkey: Erdogan seeks sweeping dictatorial powers in referendum

Police:

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

State:

triangleSpain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

triangleCatalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Government:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Elections:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

Students:

triangleBrighton victory

Army:

triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

Kurds:

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

International

International

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2