Opinion: Is Turkey going into war with Russia?

Kemal Okuyan, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), writes on the latest developments amidst recent disputes between Ankara and Moscow and answers the question "Is Turkey going into war with Russia?"
Friday, 21 February 2020 21:27

The AKP government sides with Israel in Syria. According to the statements, Israel’s concern is to eliminate Iran’s presence in Syria. But Iran’s political and military support is crucial for Syria. Israel’s missile attacks on some targets, sometimes irrelevant to Iran, strengthen Erdoğan’s hand, who is possessed by a desire to weaken and topple down Assad. 

Hence, have you ever heard that the Chief [Erdoğan], who never misses the opportunity in polemics with the Israeli administration, reacted to the missiles hitting Syria? You see, the “one-minute” incident [the then-PM Erdoğan’s verbal clash with former Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009] has not any substantial reflection in real life!

The AKP government also sides with the US in Syria. In the beginning, they planned everything together, they developed a strategic partnership. Then the Syrian people decisively took a step to repel this imperialist plot as the US administration realized that AKP exaggerated the force of Ikhwan in Syria, Russia brought its power into play, and the partnership in the Greater Middle East Project got damaged. There was an ongoing tension in some other issues between the US and Erdoğan; there was a cat among the pigeons, then the tapes and the coup attempt came. The tension escalated so much that the government purchased the S-400 defense system from Russia. 

It bought the system yet could not install it yet. There was no answer to the question, “Against whom did you buy them?” Russia has allied with the Syrian government that Erdoğan wanted to overthrow; S-400s against the Russian jets would be highly fantastic. As a NATO member, Turkey’s use of S-400s against the NATO countries would not be less fantastic. S-400s were part of the bargaining to say: “See how we are hell-bent on this issue.” Things changed so much that now they are brooding over “how to conclude the situation”. 

Now it seems that they have reached a solution. Bring the Patriots considering that they cannot activate the S-400s against Russia’s Sukhoi! The allegations came yesterday that they hastily wanted Patriots from the US. Although denied later, it was revealed that the bargaining for the Patriots is heated at the moment. 

In brief, we are going back to the beginning in some aspects. The agreements signed with Russia and Iran, the de-escalation zones, and the observation post have lost value. They are siding with the US again as they declared it as the “imperialist America” until a few months ago. They have taken a break in their discourse on the [Kurdish] PYD, now it is time for Idlib!

Yes, let us repeat that Turkey, the US, and Israel are performing a war dance on the same platform. But why?

Some may be impressed by the discourse, “Millions of refugees have flooded into the border”, which is not very relevant. Today’s “warfare” has little to do with the developments in Syria. Little to do with despite the Turkish government’s jihadist perspective. The war in Syria now is the reflection of the sharpening struggle in Turkey.

Some are talking about a “one-man rule”, yet one man cannot rule such a big country. Some may try to show as if he is ruling since this impression serves their purposes, yet the truth is somewhere else. The picture is clear. The government is messy after all that suppression, oppression and liquidations. Let alone any integrity, at least six or seven centers are vehemently struggling with each other within AKP and the state as it is generally shaped by the ruling party. 

All the centers have different international links. We can talk about the Europeanists but they are also separated as the axes of the UK and Germany. The Americanists are overt but a dispute is ongoing between those who have links with the Trump administration and those who rely on the elements disregarding Trump.

As a major part of the nationalists are resorting to a pro-NATO stance at full speed, a small part of them can offer “to continue approaching Russia”. More interestingly, one section, which is doubtlessly Americanist and has a serious influence over the civilian/military bureaucracy, can accuse Erdoğan’s Syria policies of adventurism! 

Indeed, some monetary clashes of interest behind the curtain of ideological/cultural distinctions have broken out within the rule of the AKP government as some of these clashes look like a competition between the religious cults. The period has rapidly terminated as everyone thought that they were managing Erdoğan while Erdoğan could manage everyone. We have witnessed the symptoms of this fact for a long time, but now things have gotten out of control. The Gezi Trial and the following surprising affairs signal this disintegration. 

Who is on what side in this disintegration, who defends what, what Erdoğan wants to do… all these are ineffective. The point is that this is a crisis of rule. The crisis of rule is a heavy and deep concept. However, it is necessary to use this concept in a simple manner this time. The one-man Erdoğan is unable to manage the ruling block at the moment. From a different viewpoint, the capitalist class and the imperialist centers have also lost their ability to manage Erdoğan who has greatly served them so far. We are talking about a government that cannot rule and cannot be managed. 

Do not worry, I will return to the War of Syria. Let us look at the opposition first. There is a very broad opposition block in Turkey. Almost everyone is in this block, needless to count them one by one. This opposition block is pro-NATO, pro-US and pro-Europe. Although they sometimes talk about “labor” in the environment of crisis, this opposition block is supporting the pro-market economy. Libertarianism and democratism are just sauces. We are tired of saying that no freedom and democracy can come from imperialism, the market, the bosses, and the monopolies! 

Erdoğan is desperate against this block because it completely agrees on the “Western alliance” and repels all the moves against itself; Erdoğan, a master in spoiling the alliances, could not blow a hole in this grand coalition this time despite all efforts. Erdoğan will apparently lose the elections in this current electoral model.

Therefore, Erdoğan thinks that he can get rid of this challenging situation if he reaches an agreement again with the US and the EU. He cannot take the desired guarantee although he has been making attempts and sending messages in this way for some time. He cannot take it because the local and foreign monopolies are also tired of managing Erdoğan. 

However, both Erdoğan and the influential figures of AKP think that the coalition against them may collapse if they accomplish this maneuver. On the other hand, [Erdoğan’s ally, the leader of ultranationalist party MHP] Bahçeli’s statement as almost a declaration of war against Russia should be read as the small partner’s message, “now it’s high time”, to AKP while Bahçeli has made a soft statement contrary to his previous judging message in domestic affairs. 

The disintegration within the ruling block, however, is reducing the chance of success of this manoeuvre. The weakening in domestic affairs has a negative impact on foreing affairs as the chaos in foreign affairs is leading to errors in domestic affairs. 

There is a tremendous alienation among the people of Turkey amidst the conflicts with Syrian and Russian armies. The pro-government media is storming around yet there is not any social reflection in this respect. As the opposition stood behind the government and pumped it up with pro-US rhetoric last week, the opposition has suddenly left the government alone in Syria by knowing that it achieved a goal. 

Such statements come and go, “40-50-80 regime troops have been neutralized” yet no one pays attention to these statements. These figures are null and void as even the most anti-Syria publications in the international arena do not report such allegations. 

For the first time, nationalism has lost value on such a large scale. What can be the reason for the reluctance to war with Russia while the wind of Americanism is blowing among the country’s government and opposition? Is realism the only reason? No!

As we have said, Turkey’s internal political fight has also a reflection in Syria. Stuck in Turkey, Erdoğan is trying to attract NATO to Syria but NATO would not dare to engage in an extensive war with Russia in Syria. The ground in Syria is very weak for NATO. Contrarily, NATO is essentially pushing Turkey for a little bit of a fight with Russia. In doing so, they aim to invalidate AKP’s Russian trump card and discipline Erdoğan while they also aim at a continuing instability and war in Syria.          

In the meantime, people will die, waves of migration will occur, and the possibility for the conflicts to get out of control will appear. But, do these have any importance in a system of monopolies?

Erdoğan and his friends have fallen into this trap intentionally. They couldn't find another exit.

Of course, they have no intention and energy to go into a fight with Russia. Here, it is necessary to talk about the risks caused by the clumsiness of a power that has lost its management and governance qualities. These risks should be taken seriously while it is clear that things cannot be managed globally.

It seems that reducing this risk will fall on Lavrov and his team, one of the greatest chances of Russian capitalism struggling with a number of problems. It is obvious that Lavrov, who had been responsible for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the past in the gigantic diplomatic mission in the USA, realized, as Putin did, that Erdogan's big leap westward could not be prevented. Relationships are never reset. Take an example; while Turkey was attacking the Syrian army and the Russian aircraft were bombing the Turkish Armed Forces' positions, some state officials of Turkey were fervently continuing visa liberalization talks with the Russians!

Moreover, the war does not only include soldiers, weapons, rifles, tanks, and aircraft. Wars require the mobilization of all resources of a country. For this, they need legitimacy, credibility, and “benefit” to be shown to the public. None of this is there. While people are struggling with economic difficulties, they are completely alienated from the subject due to the constant change of the enemy.

There are so many enemies. Greece is stable, Armenia is always there but then, it is complicated. USA, France, Israel, India, Egypt, Iran, Hafter. Muscovite was on the permanent enemies' list but the relations in the world got complicated, so the lines in Turkey. The whole country cannot go to war with this mess.

Could Erdoğan say "We just had a mutual artillery fire with my friend Putin?"

Physical and mathematical logic are currently telling us Turkey and Russia will not go into a war now.

History, another great science, on the other hand, says wars are inevitable in the imperialist world. Nevertheless, Turkey's war with Russia, which it can afford only by confronting Russia with the United States, is quite unlikely when the fact that Russia is currently not willing to clash with NATO directly.

A new concept has appeared recently: "moderate military opposition". This is how jihadists are called in Syria. If we start to think from here, Russia will have to show a way out to Erdoğan in order Turkey to position itself as a "moderate pro-American".

The history also says other things like that foreign policy and domestic policy are a whole and sometimes pressure in domestic policy can be resolved on the basis of foreign policy.

It seems that the long period in which Erdoğan is relieved inside the country by using foreign policy is slowly coming to an end. Turkey's interesting disintegration in the political sphere does not allow for a comprehensive war with one of the world's biggest powers in military terms, but the tension over Syria accelerating has a potential to voltage to trigger the emergence of a new balance by accelerating the internal disintegration.

What a world!

Wars, dirty bargains, insidious calculations, bloody maneuvers… On the other hand, the high cost of living, unemployment, no future.

There is no liberation if the real enemy cannot be clearly identified and if this enemy is not treated as it deserves.

The enemy is imperialism, the rule of monopolies, the order of exploitation, and that enemy should not be allowed to make the poor peoples across different nations fight each other.