The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) released a statement on October 29, the Republic Day, for the 95th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. “We will bury in history the capitalist class that destroyed the Republic,” the TKP said, adding that a new republic will be established under socialism.
The TKP indicated to its comprehensive declaration in 2008, “On the brink of disaster," which had elaborately discussed the problems of Turkey under capitalism that had dragged the country and the entire Republican values like sovereignty, independence and secularism into a collapse. This declaration had witnessed the sixth year of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power, which had been supported by imperialist forces and Turkey’s capitalist class to plunder the country’s public assets and annihilate the Republican values.
“We do not regard any of you as the representatives of secularism, independence, enlightenment and science,” the TKP addressed Turkey’s bourgeois class that is responsible for the destruction of the Republic. “Only those who struggle for establishing a new republic under socialism, the rule of the working class, will be entitled to celebrate the anniversary of the Republic that you destroyed,” the TKP noted.
soL News also interviewed with Kemal Okuyan, the Secretary-General of the TKP, for the Republic Day. Okuyan talked about the historical roots of the Republic of Turkey, saying that the Turkish movement for independence had been part of the revolutionary front led by the Soviet Union. He added that as capitalism had developed in Turkey, the country had become distanced from the Republican values under the rule of the hegemonic capitalist class, which eventually culminated in the collapse of the Republic under the rule of the AKP government.
Unlike the recent years, this year there is no sharp obstinacy of October 29. The traditional celebrations declared by the CHP municipalities on the one hand, and the inauguration of the new airport that has come to the fore with work-related deaths and occupational conditions for several months on the other. How do you evaluate this scene, what reality does confront the citizens of this country?
The results of this obstinacy were certain. How could such a mindset, which has no word on the actuality, and does not and will not understand how and from where the Republic received the blow, defend the Republic? The other side is presenting something although it is annihilating, destroying, and bringing ugliness, unearned incomes, concrete and death. One cannot resist this with symbols. Besides, one could object to the airport to a certain extent without questioning capitalism, without seeing the exploitative mechanism and the source of how the workers are forced to work in slavery conditions, and without rejecting the transfer of public resources to private corporations. Without doing all these, one would reject the airport, and then accuse the government of becoming distant from the Western civilization! The number of buyers of a groundless and inconsistent defence of the Republic is increasing decreasing. Now, they are mostly busy with defending the İşbank shares rather than the Republic.
It appears that the defenders of the Republic have also conceded the fall of the Republic. How did we reach this point?
Yes, many people can see this reality, at least when they are alone; yet the mainstream tendency is not to concede it publicly. Look, “There is nothing to worry about,” some circles that have secular sentiments occasionally say. [Famous Turkish musician] İlhan Şeşen has recently said, “I do not feel myself under pressure.” That is the way of holding on to life, getting used to, being adapted… That is almost the same as going away or escaping. Many escaped from Germany after 1933, while some others were adjusting themselves to the worse every day, saying, “It is not that bad.” Some people were escaping from the mullah regime in Iran in the 1980s, while some others were deceiving themselves to adapt to the regime. Out of these two options, one would be part and a militant of the regime, or would struggle against it; there is no other option. Today, there is no such large escape from Turkey; yet “going away” has become a hot topic within surprisingly broad masses. Why? The fall of the Republic can be seen and felt. They do not believe that the idea of Republic can rise again since they fail to imagine beyond this social order. Vast masses lost their hopes on this social order, but unfortunately, the order also destroyed their hopes.
Some have claimed that socialism failed by considering that the Republic of Turkey survived longer than the Soviet Union. However, history shows that if the Soviet Union had not existed, the Republic of Turkey could not have been founded. As the October Revolution offered great benefits to humanity, so its collapse ruined humanity. Can we establish a link between the collapse of the USSR and the liquidation of the Republic [in Turkey]?
The October Revolution of 1917 was both the onset and apex of a great revolutionary wave. After it, revolutionary powers were established in Hungary, Finland, Germany and Slovakia, which could not survive long. The working class rose up around Europe. This was a revolutionary front, and the resistance movement in Anatolia was part of this front, albeit with different motives. It is obvious that the national independence war, which was crowned with the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, could not triumph without the support of Soviet Russia, or vice versa.
The problem was not only composed of purging Anatolia of the imperialist occupation so as to secure the Soviet Union’s southern borders and the Black Sea. Mustafa Kemal’s Caucasia policy lent a great hand to socialism, which was stopped in the West, for taking root among the Caucasian peoples. Apparently, if the movement in Anatolia had not existed, the Bolsheviks would have faced very serious security problems.
It is also true that the collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a counterrevolutionary process that influenced Turkey, too. However, it should not be forgotten that Turkey had entered into a counterrevolutionary period before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which continued until today. This period had started with the coup in 1980, and reached today. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought a new dimension. Imperialism wants to liquidate the international order completely, which had been led by the October Revolution and World War II. They largely accomplished at this point.
The Republic of Turkey had been founded as an element of the revolutionary front in a revolutionary period. Although capitalism gradually and inevitably turned Turkey into an enemy of that front, the Republic of Turkey and the values that were intrinsic to its foundations cannot be put up with by the imperialist world. In this sense, yes, Turkey was already a NATO member, pro-US previously, but some certain imperialist countries doubtlessly acted with revanchist motives as well as economic and political interests when they supported the AKP.
The TKP sometimes becomes an object of criticism since it protects the historical gains of the Republic.
What would we do otherwise? We are the party of this country; would we ignore a historical breakthrough in our homeland while protecting all of the progressive steps of humanity! That is the historical aspect of the matter. By the way, we need to underline yet another point. The Kemalist movement is increasingly reduced to a struggle against occupation. The aspect of emancipation from an obsolete social order sinks into oblivion. October 29, 1923, was a revolutionary challenge, a symbol of the struggle for emancipating from such a social order that tied our country at the time. Yes, it paved the way for another exploitative social order, but this was in accordance with the reason of history.
[Lawmaker from the AKP] Şamil Tayyar meant exactly that when he recently said, “The AKP is a counterrevolutionary party.” They are settling scores with 1923, they are settling scores with the Republic, and they want to eliminate the legitimacy of the idea of revolution as a whole. Their companions were liberals who blamed 1923 for being top-down; they cannot break with each other completely even though their alliance seems damaged today. October 29, 1923, is historically legitimate, a great breakthrough. The AKP also attacks Turkey’s future whilst attacking its past.
To conclude, let us ask about that future. How is it possible today to turn this pessimistic situation, to enable the faith that humanity can establish the better? Or, does Turkey have any future?
One of Turkey’s problems in 1923 was underdeveloped capitalism, and capitalism was in Turkey’s future although a new and different life was being established close by Turkey. I am not getting into any discussion here whether it could avoid this. As capitalism developed in Turkey, its future got dark. Today, all the problems of Turkey emanate from capitalism. The problems, which derived from capitalism’s underdevelopment in 1923, stem from capitalism’s existence or overdevelopment today. If Turkey has a future, I think it has, there is no room for capitalism. The rule of AKP is an inevitable result in today’s social order; regarding the AKP as an anomaly or an accident would lead to the lack of understanding about the problem.
We can say that more workers, more labourers are realizing this truth each passing day. Turkey will establish its future with this energy. People also understand that a new Turkey cannot be established with this thesis: “Let’s get rid of this ruling party at first.” Turkey’s revolutionaries can and should reverse the pessimism and despair that are widespread among society today. Yes, there is neither hope in this social order, nor anything to defend. That is what lies on the basis of the idea of revolution. If there is no solution within the existing frame, then that frame must be changed.