Turkish politics drawing everything in like a black hole

GS of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), Kemal Okuyan, writes on the redo election in Istanbul and elaborates on the party decision regarding the new election, considering the political atmosphere in Turkey
Sunday, 23 June 2019 12:04

It is voracious; it gobbles up anything that it encounters, environs them–anything there is in politics in Turkey, whatever it confronts.

The CHP [parliamentary main opposition Republican People’s Party] stand in the center at the moment… or at least they think they do.

The [ultra-nationalistic] Good Party, which is practically half of the MHP [fascist former opposition; now ruling AKP’s partner], have been there for a long time now. We found out that the “democrats” among the Grey Wolves [MHP’s youth organization] have lined up, too.

Also, there is the [pro-Kurdish] HDP, with all its significance though it is not there sometimes and pretends not to exist from time to time.

There are parties that are remnants of the old Turkey.

The [Islamist] Felicity Party have already been swallowed up but subsists by snuggling the grassroots of the AKP, at least during election periods, which is more effective.

Liberals, Islamists, Nationalists, Socialists… A large portion of people who characterize themselves as such has positioned in the political phenomenon which draws everything in like a black hole.

You can call it a project or a sort of alliance. Some even call it a united front against fascism.

I continue to call it a black hole that enlarges with blasts and contractions, covering an ever-larger area. It is said to be against the AKP, but it gets involved with it, too, it adheres itself there.

Everyone is there, but when one party stays out of it and resists being drawn into the black hole, the “storm” breaks out.

A party that is mocked because it receives something-per-thousand votes alleged to be “marginal” and that took 150,000 votes in the last elections where it increased its votes. In İstanbul, this party was supported by 30,000 people in the elections for councillorship and by 10,349 people in the municipality if we disregard the votes that were thrown away and canceled.

The black hole swallowed everybody one by one, but the TKP’s staying out is a problem!

I do not judge the party of which I am a member with the votes it takes and we laugh away the allegation to be “marginal”. I reminded the reader of those numbers because the problem is not the votes. I do not think that the unlawful election on June 23 will be concluded with small differences as it happened on March 31. The difference may be so great that they would not be able to steal the votes this time; or if they are going to steal, they will steal “big”.

The black hole did not emerge for the election. A large period of time including the elections swallows whatever it encounters.

But first, the elections…

Right after March 31, when the issue of the cancellation of the election came into the agenda, the TKP said that the result of the election was clear and Ekrem İmamoğlu was the Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul and that they would withdraw their candidate in case of a cancellation. Hence the TKP was the first party to withdraw their candidate after the decision of cancellation. Stating that boycotting the June 23 election would be the right attitude, the TKP also announced that they would make their final decision afterward. It was also stated that the CHP’s decision to re-enter the election made boycott impossible and that the TKP would assess all events throughout the process.

TKP’s statement was reported by the opposition media as a “support for İmamoğlu” [CHP’s candidate]. However, this was an obvious distortion of facts–the TKP hadn’t announced their decision but only declared that the renewed election was not legitimate and they had withdrawn their candidate.

I’ll cut it short. The TKP made an assessment, declaring that their members would not vote and this was not a call for a boycott. This must be seen as a political attitude.

The number of TKP members was doubtlessly less than 10,000 which was the number of votes they received in March 31 election. A huge campaign was commenced against a few thousand people’s right not to vote and, instead of trying to reach tens of thousands of people who can be persuaded to vote, an organized decision with its justification, direction, and coherence was attacked. Social media turned into shambles, coverages with accusations of a “treason” filled the traditional media.

This has a reason. We will get to that.

Why did the TKP assume such an attitude? Shortly…

1. The TKP side with the right to declare politically illicit the mayor of [AKP’s candidate] Binali Yıldırım in case the ruling party wins the repeated election. This is imperative in order to defend the universal suffrage. It is obvious that the opposition doesn’t have a plan in such a case.

2. The TKP took up this kind of an attitude because the coalition, project, alliance, front, or whatever it is that supports İmamoğlu has stood clear of a total showdown with the political rulers. It has been the common view of both the ruling power and the opposition that the upcoming election is just an election for the municipality.

3. His ideological and class characteristics have always been known, but İmamoğlu developed a discourse that challenged those in Turkey who have secular sensitivity, trying to prove that those people do not have a place in politics in Turkey anymore. A party with self-esteem had to adopt an attitude against such a manner that disregarded the public-minded, revolutionary, and leftist reservoir in this country.

This is a summary. These are extremely solid, unarguable points. No one can say that these do not exist; they can only say “though”: “You should have supported them, though.”

In this case, we come to phenomena that are, again, real but not so solid this time.

Turkey’s largest capitalist groups are behind what I called a black hole. What do they want, then? Terminating Erdoğan? No. Right now, together with some other international centers, they want to achieve a Turkey where the opposition is close to the government and where Erdoğan’s leadership is not argued but limited.

The CHP doesn’t have any other game plans, anyway. Therefore, the reason behind that the İstanbul election was not turned into a referendum should not be not to scare the voters away. In the end, it is attempted to persuade Erdoğan and the black hole to sit at the table. Almost everyone in the CHP is aware of this. But they do not talk.

Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned leader of the HDP, said in his testimony a few days ago: “After the upcoming İstanbul elections, everyone who wants democracy in Turkey must quickly assume responsibility and start the work for the new democracy move. I didn’t say ‘against this’ or ‘against that’. One cannot struggle for democracy by moves against the government, the AKP, or Erdoğan himself. The struggle for democracy is for and in the interest of society. A political work that you conduct over opposition or hostility against someone only works up and feeds hostility.”

Could it be clearer?

As I write this column, the coverage of [Kurdish PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah] Öcalan’s call for “impartiality” is all over the news. The HDP declared that it was “not real”. One can expect anything from the government–we will wait and see. But what Demirtaş said is clear. Those who attack the TKP because it is “the day to unite against fascism” should think once more. At the moment, the CHP does not have any other plans and they can’t. The capitalist class wants to manage with a large alliance the jam in the economy and foreign policy. The truth is, Erdoğan is also aware of the fact that a radical maneuver is imperative at the moment. He does not wish this; he will go in his way with any opportunity he gets. However, he sees that the black hole is just near him and he is of course worried.

Therefore… all these are here in order to persuade Erdoğan.

TKP is against such a reconciliation. They point out the dangers just like they have done for the past 10 years.

A CHP-voter friend of mine said to me: “In the source of the reactions you get lies that you say everything that everyone knows, thinks, and worries about. They would have you silenced, but you put them in an inconvenient position.”

Well, sorry for the inconvenience.