2021 has been a year of deepening economic, political and social crises in Turkey, and there are ongoing discussions among opposition parties and groups in the country seeking ways out of these crises, including elections, strikes and mass action in the streets.
The collapse of domestic and foreign policy, the suspension of fundamental rights and freedoms, the bias of the judiciary, corruption and pressure on the media were the most talked-about topics throughout the year.
While all this was happening, the people of Turkey were plunged into deep economic crisis by the policies of war in the Kurdish question, the country’s most fundamental problem.
Cengiz Çiçek, co-chair of the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK, a union of left-wing movements in Turkey) evaluated the current situation in Turkey, and the developments of 2021 to MA.
100 year old political crisis
Çiçek described Turkey’s current state as a place between “death and birth”.
“In fact, when we look at it, the old is in the throes of death, but it is not dying. The new wants to be born, but it cannot be born yet. We are in an in-between situation,” he says. He relates the crisis of Turkey to the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
“There is a 100-year-old political crisis which has been in existence since the establishment of the system, a crisis due to the fact that the system was not established according to its own cultural reality or according to the truth of this land. This crisis constantly repeats itself and brings further crises along after it, and we face the fact of the creation of the fundamentalist Islamicist regime that we call the one-man dictatorship,” Çiçek said, and added that the crisis was not independent of capitalism, and to overcome it a struggle should be organised that is also anti-capitalist.
“The struggle in Turkey cannot find its way unless it connects with anti-capitalism.”
Special war organisation
Çiçek also spoke about the militarisation of society after the Gülen Movement’s coup attempt in 2015, saying that it “is promoted by the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government.”
“In fact, we call it the special war organisation. What is it that has been discussed since [the coup attempt of] 15 July? Society has been armed, that is, we are faced with the reality of a militaristic society. At the very least we are faced with the reality of an administration that has created militarism within its own supporters. This is what they call fascism. Yes, they will go, but not as a result of the elections alone.”
Struggle in the streets
According to Çiçek, the AKP government is trying to gain power by fighting against the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
“Their hope is to regain the support of the peoples of Turkey by eliminating the Kurdish movement, they have nothing else left. Gare was about this, the occupation of Southern Kurdistan, the possible occupation of Rojava, it’s all related.”
Finally, he concludes that it will be a struggle in the streets that will bring democracy to Turkey
“We will find a way to mobilise the masses in a real social struggle on the streets. Then our job will be easier, we believe that our greatest challenge is to bring the democratic republic to life.”