In this week’s interview, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) evaluated the tensions within the imperialist system and what they can give rise to in 2019. Okuyan also answered questions regarding the US resolution to withdraw troops from Syria and campaign initiated against this “withdrawal”.
We are leaving another year behind. There are various uncertainties regarding issues, which concern Turkey, and the uncertainty is growing. We are talking about the crisis of imperialism and the insoluble situation of world capitalism. Shall we expect deepening of the chaotic situation or formation of a new equilibrium in 2019?
It is named chaotic for a reason. It is a situation where it is hard to foresee the future and holding tight on forecasts may steer you to false positions. In this framework, it is required to talk about tendencies only. There are no good reasons to assume that next year will be more stable for the imperialist system. Firstly, a significant amount of energy has accumulated in the struggle and competition within the system, it is very hard to control this energy. Secondly, we should not forget that these tensions are also observed within each imperialist country. Nowadays the US, France, Britain, and Germany are facing internal conflicts or governing crises that exceed the usual limits. With the pensioner and retirement law, Putin is also in a tough position in Russia, a country full of surprises. Nowadays only China seems to be “calm”. We may add the expectation of economic recessions that may affect this picture in 2019. Stability does not come out of this picture. However, one of the most important consequences of 2019 may be developments that may partially unlock the deadlock within the internal dynamics of the international system.
Do you foresee social movements similar to one in France or change of governments?
You cannot separate these from one another. Large-scale social movements are not likely to happen, under stable and strong administrations. This is the problem here: there is a significant crisis within the International system. The US has a difficulty in maintaining its hegemony within the system for a long time and the system of the alliance has fallen apart consequently. These contradictions may evolve into something only if alliances acting with a certain strategy arises at the international level, unfortunately, one of the tools for this to happen is war. Political mess going on especially in NATO member states weakens the strategic attitude. Humanity who is facing the threat created by the uncertainty these days will also not be safe when the US, Germany, France, and Britain develops the talent to act strategically. On the contrary, a war may be expected by these countries in order to overcome the deadlock of these days.
Are we talking about a pessimist scenario in every case?
Yes, within this system. However, within this scenario, developing conditions may invite the working people to intervene in the Western imperialist countries that had a somewhat stable past during the second half of the 20th century. Only development to unlock the deadlock in the name of humanity is a new revolutionary period. Or else, capitalisms tendencies promote militarism, racism, fascism everywhere. For example, dismissal of Trump in the US, overthrowing Macron in France, solving the Brexit crisis in England will not amend this ill-fated tendency. Some people may continue to follow the World according to exchange rates or stock exchanges, but capitalism is going through a historical deadlock at the international level.
Can we treat the evaluations you have stated in your article last week within this framework after the withdrawal statement of Trump from Syria? In the article, you have mentioned the claims regarding the possible agenda behind Trump’s decision and stated that all of the claims have actuality.
Right now foreign policy, for all countries, is not followed by consistent steps but rather continued with moves that disrupt the other party’s play. Thus, no one is in a position to have a significant initiative. After every step taken, the move of the opponent is expected before taking another step. This step does not need to be consistent with the previous one. In a World like this, most effective steps are the ones suitable to fit in with any kind of developments in the future. We can easily say this of Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria. Erdogan made a similar move almost at the same time. There are rumors about building a new army base in Trabzon. This base may have a significance, “independent” from NATO, within Turkey’s regional claims, but it may also create great opportunities to NATO in the Black Sea region where an increase of tension may be expected in the near future. It is obvious that Erdogan is not acting with a concrete plan, but rather he strengthens his hand. Everyone has an idea about Syria, but Trump, at least his team, has 4 or 5 options regarding the next move to make in Syria. This also goes for the opposition in the USA.
A petition started on the website of White House after the recent developments in Syria became a subject of dispute. In the petition, it is requested from the US to force Turkey to initiate a new “solution process” along with the cancellation of withdrawal from Syria.
There is nothing to be surprised. The competition between the Kurdish organizations and Turkey regarding having a good relationship with the US continues. A solution within the USA line has not been achieved until this point. However, it is not possible for these three actors to break away from each other. Therefore, the petition and other moves are natural when you take the imperialist world as the basis of your worldview. You may start a petition campaign for Erdogan and you start another one against him the next day. One day you may ask the US to withdraw and the other day you beg the US to stay! There was a moral limit in our country, let alone the leftists even the right wing politicians were reluctant to advocate pro-US politics. This limit has been overrun. When the leftist movements gave up their principles, any kind of maneuvers started sounding acceptable, the brakes went loose. The point I cannot understand is the treason claim of the officials of a NATO member state (Turkey), who had been bragging about the strategic partnership with the US and maybe in future will brag about having the period of relationship with the US regarding the petition. Turkey is governed by such a pro-US government that can vote no to a UN resolution requesting the US to not to withdraw from the nuclear arms deal. There have been a lot of parties and politicians in our history who openly requested the guardianship of an imperialist power. Before that, there were sultans and journalists with similar political aims. This is not the first time it is happening…Of course; repetition of this issue does not eliminate the severity of the situation. However, a fact needs to be known. If you are not aiming to change the current establishment in national, regional or international level, if you do not want this, you will constantly look for “friends” within the hegemons of the establishment. You start petition campaigns. There is no exception to that. We should focus on this issue.
Do you agree with the view that states the US plans in Syria have been failed?
US’s main plan in Syria failed years ago. In their minds, they were planning to finalize the Arab Spring with Syria. It did not happen, they could not succeed. Erdogan is a partner in this failure. Now all parties are struggling to get rid of this failure, but the US does not withdraw from Syria just by bringing 2000 soldiers home. The entire region is an area of competition for the imperialist Powers. It is said that the weight of PYD, the ally of US, will be shattered, but how about Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is being re-inserted into Syria? With whom is, FSA allied? The US was involved in the establishment of FSA. At some point, FSA lost its importance in the eyes of US, but now FSA is an actor who complicates the solution in Syria and so FSA becomes an important factor for US interests in the region. Secondly, it is ridiculous to evaluate imperialism only by US interests. Iraq and Syria is an area of competition for international monopolies. 2 thousand US soldiers does not determine the fate of the energy fields in the East Mediterranean. However, I have mentioned before. It is valuable and meaningful that any US soldier gets the hell out of the region.