The Transformation of Fascism in Turkey Under the AKP
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 Red Dawn / Issue 18 / Winter 2018-19

Fascism in Turkey draws on a long history characterized by counterrevolutionary attacks such as coups, massacres, states of emergency, and more recently by political-ideological transformation. As a result of revolutionary developments, a never-ending regime and state crisis continues, whereas the counterrevolution has taken various forms of rule and oppression. Fascism has changed its form several times over the course of history in Turkey.
However, the colonialist quality of fascism, which is based on the principle of one nation, one religion, one state, one flag, has not changed and ensures the existential maintenance of the Turkish state.
Since the AKP was elected into the government in 2002 as a result of a continuing regime crisis and the reaction of the population to the burdens of the economic crisis in 2001, the fascist dictatorship has gradually expanded, the regime crisis has deepened and with it, the aggression of fascism, too.
Through the years and due to the ongoing revolutionary developments, AKP has transformed fascism into a presidential dictatorship, a political-Islamist ruling regime that is pushing Turkey's colonialism against Kurdistan to its limits together with neo-Ottoman expansionist efforts.
The era of AKP Fascism Begins
The era of the AKP, which determined the politics of the fascist Turkish state in the last 17 years, began in times of a regime crisis. This regime crisis was caused by anti-fascist mass struggles of the workers and toiling people, the national liberation struggle of the Kurdish people and it was deepened by the struggle for freedom of belief of the Alevis. For decades, these struggles have been attacking the foundations of the fascist state, above all with the rising national liberation struggle and the armed struggle led by PKK , the workers resistances between 1989-91 and uprisings in the quarters of the metropoles, like in Gazi , where the toiling people resisted against a state murdering to provocate a superstition conflict between Sunnis and Alevis. All these struggles abolish the monistic style of state. Although prior to the AKP's electoral victory, Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan was captured by an international plot in 1999 and the Kurdish freedom movement was forced into a reformist line, Kurdish guerrilla warfare and Kurdish people's rebellion continued and remained central for the regime's crisis.
The AKP led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected to the government in 2002 as a result of this ongoing regime crisis. Although the AKP formed a single-party government by itself, the state power was not yet completely controlled by it at the time, it had only a share in the power. The ruling "bloc of the generals", which was based on the Turkish army but consisting also the president, the constitutional court, the supreme board of judges and prosecutors, the supreme court, the state security court, the council of higher education and the national intelligence service MIT , still had the largest share in power. Thus, at that time, the form of the fascist dictatorship used to have a semi-military character in which the deep state remained active as a counterrevolutionary actor.
The generals' bloc was not pleased that a political-islamist party like the AKP was the sole party in the government, so it would not have taken long before the counter-guerrilla developed a coup. The generals, however, had not sufficiently considered a fundamental change, that is, the financial oligarchy, US and EU wanted a restructuring of the Turkish State to accelerate its integration into the integrated capitalist world market of imperialist globalization. The AKP was part of the implementation of this plan, in which Turkey was transformed from a neocolony to a financial-economic colony. The implementation of this plan was aiming to accelerate the abolishment of the obstacles in front of the capital flow, which would be accompanied by the autonomization of the central bank, a huge wave of precarisation and privatization mostly for the sectors of education and health, as well as cutting the subventions for the public services and social security.
However, the state structure under the domination of the generals was an obstacle for this plan. At the same time, the generals did not agree with the liberal solutions for the regime crisis, whereas the ruling bloc of bourgeois change, which consisted of the followers of an IMF program and those parts of bourgeoisie who collaborated with EU and US capital, sought a bourgeois solution to the regime crisis in which the Kurds and Alevis should be integrated into the regime by remaining satisfied only with some individual rights.
The ruling generals insisted that this reform policy would give the Kurdish freedom struggle more room to maneuver. They also foresaw that they would have to give up their privileged position with this bourgeois liberal program.
The bloc of the generals planned an easy elimination of the AKP, because they had the power in the most important authority of the state, the National Security Council ( MGK ) while parliament and government were secondary in terms of authority in the state power. The decisions of the MGK had a character of a command for the government. Anyhow, the "Red Book", in which the strategical line of the state policy was written, had been prepared and updated by the MGK and it was standing above the constitution. At that time, the rule of the state was divided into two: the parliament and the constitution on one side, MGK and the Red Book on the other. The generals thought to have their old power, with their weapons, their counter-guerrillas, their institutions, financial resources and privileges.
In 2007, the presidential election had taken place, expressing the contradictions between AKP and the generals' bloc. In this election, which assumed the character of a duel, the generals had lost and a political-islamist president, Abdullah Gül was elected. It was a sign that the balance of power had shifted, but the generals were not aware of it. Before, the real power of the the generals' bloc was stemmed from the support of the financial oligarchy and the imperialists, especially the US. When this support was withdrawn, they had nothing left to lean on. Only after finding themselves in prisons as a result of AKP intrigues, widely known as the Ergenekon operations, the generals became aware of that reality. The AKP was a much more appropriate partner for the ruling bloc of bourgeois change. Thus, they paved the way for Erdogan to become the prime minister. Although the contradictions between the bloc of change and that of the generals led to a state crisis, at the end, the bloc of the generals had to throw in the towel.
From a Semi-Military Fascist Dictatorship to the Fascist Dictatorship
Even if the bourgeois change program was hardly implemented as a solution to the ongoing regime crisis, it at least contributed to the transformation of the fascist regime. The semi-military quality of fascism had passed. There were two influence factors that led to this transformation. First, Turkey's integration into the imperialist globalization, and thus becoming a financial-economic colony, was in the interests of the imperialist financial oligarchy and its collaborators. For a transformation of the economic base, it was necessary to also provide a reasonable superstructure. The second decisive factor was the positioning of the masses on the side of "democracy" and their struggle for political freedoms against the fascist dictatorship in Kurdistan and Turkey. The AKP convinced the masses to introduce the "democratic" change they wanted. The influence of the generals thus disappeared more and more through inner-state interventions of AKP, which transformed the semi-military ruling system by changing military fascist rulers with the civil fascists.
After the generals have thrown in the towel, a new state crisis emerged. The state order, which had been in existence since 1960, consolidated with the coup d'état of 1971,the military coup of '80 and the '97 coup, was still structured according to the counter-guerrilla convictions and to the MGK's role in dedicating the basic strategic decisions of the state leadership. Now, the function of the MGK and the military influence on the state institutions were weakened, but what should take their place? The state had to be restructured for the new political-islamist fascists under the leadership of the AKP.
A New State Crisis
Although the semi-military character of fascism was abolished, fascism was still in place. And even though the AKP was supported by a broader alliance of political forces in the first years of its governance, it was actually historically the product of an alliance of political-islamist forces. Two currents were crucial for that. One was represented by the tradition of the National Salvation Party (MSP) and the Welfare Party (RP). This branch inside the AKP was led by Erdogan and drew its power from the masses. The other one was the Gulen movement, which had strength primarily through cadres taking place at critical positions of the state and had connections to imperialist intelligence services. These relations, together with the Gulen movement, had a major impact on the liquidation of the generals' bloc, forcing Gulen supporters to take the vacant posts in state institutions. Important positions in the police and the juridicary were taken by Gulenists. But the Gulenists tried to take the old position of the bloc of generals. They tried to overthrow the intelligence service MIT with their position in police and juridicary, that is how the Erdogan clique realized what they were dealing with. The swords were drawn and a new state crisis had begun; this time between Erdogan's clique and the Gulenists.
In 2012, police and prosecutors under the control of the Gulenists opened corruption proceedings against Erdogan and his family, as well as against some ministers of the government and their families. This case went down in history as the "MIT crisis" and the 17-25 December corruption scandal. Along with the voice recordings of Erdogan and his family concerning hidden money, were shared in public. The police made operations to the houses of politicians, some of which were taken into custody, and finally, a truck belonging to MIT, which was full of weapons for the Syrian jihadist, was stopped and searched by the Gulenist prosecutor, revealing the Turkish state's role in fighting against the Rojava revolution.
However, despite flawless evidence of corruption, despite all these attempts of the Gulenist circle, they had been defeated, Erdogan has won.
In order to clear Gulenists out of the way, Erdogan used the generals and nationalist fascists, which he had captured and liquidated from the state positions before, ensnaring them once again. This is an example, how pragmatist Erdogan is in his alliance policy. Gulenist police officers and their chiefs were arrested and the media, banks and companies of the Gulen movement were expropriated. The Gulen clique, in the face of these hard attacks by the AKP, had no other choice than a coup d'état with its cadres within the military, which was to follow a few years later.
The New Constitution and Presidential Dictatorship
In the meantime AKP carried on the de-facto transformation of the fascist regime into a new form, but this transformation had to be constitutionally supported. In 2010, a first constitutional referendum was launched, which in part formed the basis for a change. In this referendum, a new constitution was drafted, which should replace the old constitution, which was designed after the military coup of 12 September 1980, in which a military junta came to power. The amendments should bring the constitution into compliance with the bourgeois change requirements.
Under the AKP, the semi-military quality of the fascist dictatorship had now changed; the MGK, as a previous ruling institution of the generals' bloc, became the government's means, not the other way around. Instead of the MGK, the parliament had gained more importance. But afterwards, the parliament became an obstacle to fascism. This time the fascist dictatorship needed again a structure that stood above parliament and could fulfill the old function of the MGK, whereas, it needed to be ruled by an elected authority. An elected president and a government appointed by him could do this. That was the expression of the search for a fascist dictator. The transformation into a presidential dictatorship started.
Fascism is Shaken in its Marrow
Meanwhile, as power struggles were still taking place, regime and state crises were steadily deepening. The demands of the Kurdish national democratic struggle and the freedom of belief of the Alevi people remained unanswered. The Kurds were not contented with individual rights and the Alevis did not want to be seen as a mere cultural diversity. At the same time, the oppression of the working class, which intensified through the politics of imperialist globalization, led to more resistances. Women continued fighting for their most basic rights and resist against the growing patriarchal violence, as well as the politcal-islamist attacks of the AKP on their lives. The youth were involving the struggles not only for their educational rights but also for political freedoms, and ecological movements were resisting against the ecological devastation caused by AKP. The bourgeois change program was far from fulfilling all these demands. It was unable to give any solution for these freedom demands.
The revolutionary front shook fascism with several developments. With the Rojava revolution that started in 2012, the Gezi-June uprising in 2013, Kobane victory in 2014, the election victory of the HDP in June 2015, the entire Turkish state has lost its balance. The news of the beginning of the Rojava revolution has upset all the plans of fascism with which it sought supremacy in the Middle East. From the beginning, the Turkish state was and still is trying to destroy the revolution, first indirectly, with the help of the ISIS and al-Nusra gangs, but today through direct military interventions.
During the negotiation with the Kurdish freedom movement in 2013 the Turkish fascism thought to have the revolutionary situation in Northern Kurdistan under control, but then the Gezi uprising broke out as a revolutionary situation in Turkey. Erdogan's position was relieved by the lack of united, revolutionary leadership and lack of participation in the uprising in Northern Kurdistan.
Then there was the defense of the Rojava revolution, in which the resistance around Kobanê played a crucial role. Against the colonial fascism occurred between 6-8 October 2014 a popular uprising, the "Kobanê serhildan ", which spread from Northern Kurdistan to Turkey. It showed the degeneration of the foundations of the colonial fascist regime and the weakness of its rule. Fascism was able to save itself in its distress before this uprising, but it turned out that it would not be possible to integrate the Kurds into the monistic state system and to satisfy them with individual rights, rather than with free, equal rights like political rights of self-determination. But these equal political rights for the Kurdish nation are not possible to be achieved within the Turkish state, because even collective rights on the most limited possible ground would attack the existential basis of the Turkish Republic. Collective rights of Kurdish people open the path for democratic rights of a Kurdish unification beyond the colonialist borders. A unification beyond the colonialist borders would mean, that the Turkish state and all the other colonialist states would break down. That is why any achievement of the Kurdish freedom struggle, for example the Rojava Revolution, endangers Turkey, because they had an influence on Northern Kurdistan and colonialism in the entire region. If a democratic autonomy had been recognized in Northern Kurdistan, it would not have been possible for the Turkish Republic to continue its current form. Therefore, the fascist state had to intervene and develop an extermination plan against this revolutionary danger.
All these developments, the wide spread Gezi people's uprising, as well as a crisis in Turkish economy, the negotiation process between Turkish state and the Kurdish People's leader Abdullah Öcalan took place at the same time, when the inner-state struggles against Gulenists continued.
"Extermination Plan", the "Palace Coup" and Self-Governance Resistances
Erdogan agreed with the fascist generals on a new extermination strategy, which was intended to erase the idea of a national unity of Kurds in Northern Kurdistan with the other parts of Kurdistan. Shortly after the Kobanê uprising of 6-8 October, the MGK meeting was held, in which an extermination plan based on the model of Sri Lanka against the Tamils, was decided. After the HDP won a massive election victory on 7 June, 2015, the plan was put into action. Until that date, the negotiations between the Turkish state and the leader of the Kurdish people went on. With the ongoing negotiations the state tried to distract the Kurdish freedom movement. However, the Kurdish freedom movement was aware of this and preparing a revolutionary offensives against possible attacks.
As the HDP gained enormous mass force wheras the AKP lost support, Erdogan turned the tide during the electoral period. He has changed his attitude in order to preserve nationalist voices and lay the groundwork for post-election attacks. The "Dolmabahçe agreement", which was declared on 28 February 2015, with the presence both sides of the negotiation process, stating the basic concrete points of the new "peace" process without arms, was rejected and completely ignored by the state as if they weren't the one sitting on the same table. The election victory of the HDP of 13%, which exceeded the fascist election threshold of 10% and prevented an absolute majority of the AKP in the parliament, was a decisive danger for the fascism in terms of HDP's growing influence on Turkey's politics. At all costs, the state had to at least neutralize the progressive forces in Turkey. The connection of the Kurdish freedom movement with the organized and politically determined, anti-fascist, revolutionary forces within the Turkish masses had to be broken.
In this election, the AKP had failed to form a government, which had seriously damaged its presidential agenda. Thus, with the help of the fascist generals, a political-islamist fascist palace junta was formed.
That was a new kind of coup. The aim of this coup was to break the will of the Kurdish freedom movement, the anti-fascist, progressive forces and the combat unit of the Turkish workers and the oppressed with the Kurdish workers and the oppressed.
This palace coup started with a first major offensive on 20 July 2015, with a massacre organized with the help of ISIS, which targeted the Communist Youth Organization of MLKP in Suruc. Right afterwards, a large number of HDP buildings were attacked, destroyed and partially set on fire by civil fascists. Bombardments against guerrilla areas in South Kurdistan started. After the building of a coalition government, Erdogan canceled the elections and ordered reelections on November, 2015. Before these elections a mass rally for peace on 10 October in Ankara was again massacred with the help of ISIS.
Against these offensive shift, the Kurdish people, under the leadership of the Kurdish freedom movement, had practically implemented their right of self-determination in the proclamation of local governments in 2015. By rejecting the occupying forces of the colonial state, the people began to organize themselves through popular councils. Self-defense committees under the "Civil Defense Unities" (YPS), in which the MLKP urban guerillas did also take part, have defended the self-governing cities and neighborhoods. It was obvious that the regime's response should be tough. The excavated mines and self-defense units were a revolutionary resistance to the extermination attacks.
The state attacked with all its war apparatus and resources, but could not suppress these legendary resistances for months. This was a civil war between the colonial fascist state and the Kurdish people. This heroic resistance of the Kurdish freedom movement wrote history and ones again showed, that the structural regime crisis of the fascist bourgeois Turkish state is deepening.
In the following years, the extermination plan was implemented: waves of arrests; trustees deployed by Erdoğan in Northern Kurdistan municipalities and elected mayors were imprisoned; imprisonment of political representatives including HDP deputies; the occupation of cities in Kurdistan and their destruction; assassinations; desecration of the dead; intensified fascist state terror.
Torn State: Coup Attempt by an Old Ally
On 15 July 2016, the sudden attempt of a military coup took place, which was thwarted the next morning. The number of generals and officers, the commanding military units and bases, as well as the number of cities in which the attempt took place, have shown that this was a large-scale coup attempt. It was a coup attempt organized predominantly by nationalist-islamist parts of the Gulen movement. They wanted to take revenge for the defeat in the internal power struggle with Erdogan and seize again the state power. Apparently, the coup had been brought forward because the intelligence service received information about the coup plans and the following day leading generals of the coup were to be arrested.
This coup attempt was in reality a counter-coup attempt against Erdogan's presidential dictatorship, which started a palace coup and eroded power after the June 7, 2015 elections. This coup attempt of the generals was defeated due to the change of plans, insufficient low rank soldiers placed in the streets and their fear of shooting civilians and the last minute change of sides by some parts of the coup. In Ankara and Istanbul, it looked like the armed clashes took place between the police and the army, while the first one was siding with Erdoğan and the latter with the Gulenists, since the Gulenists in the police force had been removed and jailed in the last 3 years.
It was followed by the period of state of emergency declared on 20 July 2016, after which the dictator ruled with statutory decrees and became even more aggressive against any resistance.
Fascist Chieftaincy Regime as a Form to Consolidate the Dictatorship
With the state of emergency thousands of newspapers, journals, TV channels, radios, associations, NGO's have been closed; thousands of people, especially HDP members, have been imprisoned; more and more revolutionaries have been killed extralegally; academicians who signed an open letter for peace have been fired and cases have been opened against them; in general thousands of people have been fired through decrees, especially democratic trade unionist teachers; judiciary is being totally controlled by the dictatorship; strikes have been forbidden to protect the economy; municipalities are usurpted by the deployment of the trustees; cultural and environmental devastation took place. The palace dictatorship began to prepare itself openly for a civil war and organized paramilitary gangs on the streets.
Through a Referendum on April 16, 2017, which Erdogan won through state terror against the HDP and through cheating in the whole election process, the legal consolidation of the presidency system has been secured. This package has remained the prime ministry and the president gained the authority to appoint ministers outside the parliament, to dissolve the parliament and renew elections. The president has the power to declare states of emergency and remove basic rights by decrees. The president has the right to remain the chairman of his own party, AKP, which brought an official character to the party-state structure. To summarize, all the changes of this presidency system via these cheated elections provided the one-man-dictatorship of the chief Erdogan a legal basis.
Practically, Erdogan was well prepared for this, because he ruled in this way. He reorganized the military structures, institution of the state and removed the last remaining autonomy of the army. The bourgeois parliament lost any function, the state of emergency became the state of normality, the intelligence agency was newly designed, democratic rights have been abolished. This all happened before this referendum, but with the referendum it gained a legal "legitimacy".
The Political-Islamist Transformation of State Ideology
Besides the consolidation of a presidential dictatorship, the transformation of fascism by AKP took place primarily in the transformation of the state ideology. Kemalism, the doctrine of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had been the official state ideology since the 1930s where the political Islam was excluded from the state. Under the name of "secularization", the Sunni-Hanafi religion was used as an apparatus, the Alevism was ignored and the rights of belief of the Alevi people and other religious communities were suppressed. However, by the 1950's, under the leadership of Turkish prime minister Adnan Menderes, the path for the political Islam as an anti-communist apparatus within the US' "green-belt" policy was opened. In the military coup of September 12, 1980, the "Turkish-Islam synthesis" was developed to expand the social base of fascism to the parts that were not Kemalist in order to stifle any progressive thought in the bud. But these efforts, which were directed against socialist thoughts, ultimately served the development of political Islam. In addition to the development of political Islam, the basis of Kemalism was also limited by the strengthening struggles of the Kurds and Alevis. Kemalism has lost its dominance as a bourgeois state ideology. For the first time, political Islam became able to form a single-party government with the AKP and subsequently came to power. This does not mean, however, that Kemalism, which is the essence of the Turkish Republic, has been totally repealed from the state ideology.
Political Islam in its seizure of power has included Kemalism; it revised and claimed its "uniformity" understanding. The AKP was using all the benefits of power to build its political Islamist base against anti-state sentiments expressed through the pressure from Kurds and Alevis, through demands for socialism, national liberation, freedom of belief, and secularism. With the aim of Islamization of social consciousness, the AKP followed to attack all sections of society. 1980 putschist Kenan Evren was resorting to the "Turkish-Islam synthesis" while Erdogan tried to make the "Sunni Islam-Turkish synthesis" predominant.
Existential Crisis of Turkish Fascism
The whole history of AKP fascism, is the history of a desperate colonialist-fascist state to survive against the ongoing and uprising revolutionary and democratic forces and it is the history of inner-bourgeois struggles. Despite all the brutal state terror, despite the massacres and colonialist war, they could not suppress the Kurdish freedom will, they did not crush the revolutionaries and hope is still on the streets. They could not solve the regime crisis, they even sank deeper in their own inner-struggles. The regime crisis is not a periodic crisis. It roots in the existential fear of the state to lose its colonial yoke over Kurdistan, its monistic state legitimacy, to lose its own fundamental base. That us why, it is not important which part of the ruling class dominates fascism. Whether the generals, or the politic-Islamists, they all unite in protecting and following the colonialist fascist state character against the Kurdish people, in suppressing the revolutionary will of the workers, laborers and the oppressed, as well the integration of Turkey to the financial oligarchy via the financial economical colonization process.
The struggle for political freedom, the antifascist war against colonialism will be the answer of all the oppressed. Revolutionaries will continue to grow a united struggle to overthrow the fascist regime. Because the history of AKP fascism does not reflect only the political-islamist transformation of the state ideology, neither the absolute state terror, massacres and slaughters. This history is also marked by historic achievements of the revolutionary movement, legendary peoples-resistances in Kurdistan, the first nationwide uprising in Turkey, a unique unification of revolutionaries and democratic forces to a further level of organization, a first women's uprising in history of Turkey, military revolutionary fronts against fascism. Leaning on this revolutionary basis, the communist vanguard will keep on its unyielding fight, using all means and forms of the struggle to overthrow fascism and build socialism.

 

 

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The Transformation of Fascism in Turkey Under the AKP
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 Red Dawn / Issue 18 / Winter 2018-19

Fascism in Turkey draws on a long history characterized by counterrevolutionary attacks such as coups, massacres, states of emergency, and more recently by political-ideological transformation. As a result of revolutionary developments, a never-ending regime and state crisis continues, whereas the counterrevolution has taken various forms of rule and oppression. Fascism has changed its form several times over the course of history in Turkey.
However, the colonialist quality of fascism, which is based on the principle of one nation, one religion, one state, one flag, has not changed and ensures the existential maintenance of the Turkish state.
Since the AKP was elected into the government in 2002 as a result of a continuing regime crisis and the reaction of the population to the burdens of the economic crisis in 2001, the fascist dictatorship has gradually expanded, the regime crisis has deepened and with it, the aggression of fascism, too.
Through the years and due to the ongoing revolutionary developments, AKP has transformed fascism into a presidential dictatorship, a political-Islamist ruling regime that is pushing Turkey's colonialism against Kurdistan to its limits together with neo-Ottoman expansionist efforts.
The era of AKP Fascism Begins
The era of the AKP, which determined the politics of the fascist Turkish state in the last 17 years, began in times of a regime crisis. This regime crisis was caused by anti-fascist mass struggles of the workers and toiling people, the national liberation struggle of the Kurdish people and it was deepened by the struggle for freedom of belief of the Alevis. For decades, these struggles have been attacking the foundations of the fascist state, above all with the rising national liberation struggle and the armed struggle led by PKK , the workers resistances between 1989-91 and uprisings in the quarters of the metropoles, like in Gazi , where the toiling people resisted against a state murdering to provocate a superstition conflict between Sunnis and Alevis. All these struggles abolish the monistic style of state. Although prior to the AKP's electoral victory, Kurdish people's leader Abdullah Öcalan was captured by an international plot in 1999 and the Kurdish freedom movement was forced into a reformist line, Kurdish guerrilla warfare and Kurdish people's rebellion continued and remained central for the regime's crisis.
The AKP led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected to the government in 2002 as a result of this ongoing regime crisis. Although the AKP formed a single-party government by itself, the state power was not yet completely controlled by it at the time, it had only a share in the power. The ruling "bloc of the generals", which was based on the Turkish army but consisting also the president, the constitutional court, the supreme board of judges and prosecutors, the supreme court, the state security court, the council of higher education and the national intelligence service MIT , still had the largest share in power. Thus, at that time, the form of the fascist dictatorship used to have a semi-military character in which the deep state remained active as a counterrevolutionary actor.
The generals' bloc was not pleased that a political-islamist party like the AKP was the sole party in the government, so it would not have taken long before the counter-guerrilla developed a coup. The generals, however, had not sufficiently considered a fundamental change, that is, the financial oligarchy, US and EU wanted a restructuring of the Turkish State to accelerate its integration into the integrated capitalist world market of imperialist globalization. The AKP was part of the implementation of this plan, in which Turkey was transformed from a neocolony to a financial-economic colony. The implementation of this plan was aiming to accelerate the abolishment of the obstacles in front of the capital flow, which would be accompanied by the autonomization of the central bank, a huge wave of precarisation and privatization mostly for the sectors of education and health, as well as cutting the subventions for the public services and social security.
However, the state structure under the domination of the generals was an obstacle for this plan. At the same time, the generals did not agree with the liberal solutions for the regime crisis, whereas the ruling bloc of bourgeois change, which consisted of the followers of an IMF program and those parts of bourgeoisie who collaborated with EU and US capital, sought a bourgeois solution to the regime crisis in which the Kurds and Alevis should be integrated into the regime by remaining satisfied only with some individual rights.
The ruling generals insisted that this reform policy would give the Kurdish freedom struggle more room to maneuver. They also foresaw that they would have to give up their privileged position with this bourgeois liberal program.
The bloc of the generals planned an easy elimination of the AKP, because they had the power in the most important authority of the state, the National Security Council ( MGK ) while parliament and government were secondary in terms of authority in the state power. The decisions of the MGK had a character of a command for the government. Anyhow, the "Red Book", in which the strategical line of the state policy was written, had been prepared and updated by the MGK and it was standing above the constitution. At that time, the rule of the state was divided into two: the parliament and the constitution on one side, MGK and the Red Book on the other. The generals thought to have their old power, with their weapons, their counter-guerrillas, their institutions, financial resources and privileges.
In 2007, the presidential election had taken place, expressing the contradictions between AKP and the generals' bloc. In this election, which assumed the character of a duel, the generals had lost and a political-islamist president, Abdullah Gül was elected. It was a sign that the balance of power had shifted, but the generals were not aware of it. Before, the real power of the the generals' bloc was stemmed from the support of the financial oligarchy and the imperialists, especially the US. When this support was withdrawn, they had nothing left to lean on. Only after finding themselves in prisons as a result of AKP intrigues, widely known as the Ergenekon operations, the generals became aware of that reality. The AKP was a much more appropriate partner for the ruling bloc of bourgeois change. Thus, they paved the way for Erdogan to become the prime minister. Although the contradictions between the bloc of change and that of the generals led to a state crisis, at the end, the bloc of the generals had to throw in the towel.
From a Semi-Military Fascist Dictatorship to the Fascist Dictatorship
Even if the bourgeois change program was hardly implemented as a solution to the ongoing regime crisis, it at least contributed to the transformation of the fascist regime. The semi-military quality of fascism had passed. There were two influence factors that led to this transformation. First, Turkey's integration into the imperialist globalization, and thus becoming a financial-economic colony, was in the interests of the imperialist financial oligarchy and its collaborators. For a transformation of the economic base, it was necessary to also provide a reasonable superstructure. The second decisive factor was the positioning of the masses on the side of "democracy" and their struggle for political freedoms against the fascist dictatorship in Kurdistan and Turkey. The AKP convinced the masses to introduce the "democratic" change they wanted. The influence of the generals thus disappeared more and more through inner-state interventions of AKP, which transformed the semi-military ruling system by changing military fascist rulers with the civil fascists.
After the generals have thrown in the towel, a new state crisis emerged. The state order, which had been in existence since 1960, consolidated with the coup d'état of 1971,the military coup of '80 and the '97 coup, was still structured according to the counter-guerrilla convictions and to the MGK's role in dedicating the basic strategic decisions of the state leadership. Now, the function of the MGK and the military influence on the state institutions were weakened, but what should take their place? The state had to be restructured for the new political-islamist fascists under the leadership of the AKP.
A New State Crisis
Although the semi-military character of fascism was abolished, fascism was still in place. And even though the AKP was supported by a broader alliance of political forces in the first years of its governance, it was actually historically the product of an alliance of political-islamist forces. Two currents were crucial for that. One was represented by the tradition of the National Salvation Party (MSP) and the Welfare Party (RP). This branch inside the AKP was led by Erdogan and drew its power from the masses. The other one was the Gulen movement, which had strength primarily through cadres taking place at critical positions of the state and had connections to imperialist intelligence services. These relations, together with the Gulen movement, had a major impact on the liquidation of the generals' bloc, forcing Gulen supporters to take the vacant posts in state institutions. Important positions in the police and the juridicary were taken by Gulenists. But the Gulenists tried to take the old position of the bloc of generals. They tried to overthrow the intelligence service MIT with their position in police and juridicary, that is how the Erdogan clique realized what they were dealing with. The swords were drawn and a new state crisis had begun; this time between Erdogan's clique and the Gulenists.
In 2012, police and prosecutors under the control of the Gulenists opened corruption proceedings against Erdogan and his family, as well as against some ministers of the government and their families. This case went down in history as the "MIT crisis" and the 17-25 December corruption scandal. Along with the voice recordings of Erdogan and his family concerning hidden money, were shared in public. The police made operations to the houses of politicians, some of which were taken into custody, and finally, a truck belonging to MIT, which was full of weapons for the Syrian jihadist, was stopped and searched by the Gulenist prosecutor, revealing the Turkish state's role in fighting against the Rojava revolution.
However, despite flawless evidence of corruption, despite all these attempts of the Gulenist circle, they had been defeated, Erdogan has won.
In order to clear Gulenists out of the way, Erdogan used the generals and nationalist fascists, which he had captured and liquidated from the state positions before, ensnaring them once again. This is an example, how pragmatist Erdogan is in his alliance policy. Gulenist police officers and their chiefs were arrested and the media, banks and companies of the Gulen movement were expropriated. The Gulen clique, in the face of these hard attacks by the AKP, had no other choice than a coup d'état with its cadres within the military, which was to follow a few years later.
The New Constitution and Presidential Dictatorship
In the meantime AKP carried on the de-facto transformation of the fascist regime into a new form, but this transformation had to be constitutionally supported. In 2010, a first constitutional referendum was launched, which in part formed the basis for a change. In this referendum, a new constitution was drafted, which should replace the old constitution, which was designed after the military coup of 12 September 1980, in which a military junta came to power. The amendments should bring the constitution into compliance with the bourgeois change requirements.
Under the AKP, the semi-military quality of the fascist dictatorship had now changed; the MGK, as a previous ruling institution of the generals' bloc, became the government's means, not the other way around. Instead of the MGK, the parliament had gained more importance. But afterwards, the parliament became an obstacle to fascism. This time the fascist dictatorship needed again a structure that stood above parliament and could fulfill the old function of the MGK, whereas, it needed to be ruled by an elected authority. An elected president and a government appointed by him could do this. That was the expression of the search for a fascist dictator. The transformation into a presidential dictatorship started.
Fascism is Shaken in its Marrow
Meanwhile, as power struggles were still taking place, regime and state crises were steadily deepening. The demands of the Kurdish national democratic struggle and the freedom of belief of the Alevi people remained unanswered. The Kurds were not contented with individual rights and the Alevis did not want to be seen as a mere cultural diversity. At the same time, the oppression of the working class, which intensified through the politics of imperialist globalization, led to more resistances. Women continued fighting for their most basic rights and resist against the growing patriarchal violence, as well as the politcal-islamist attacks of the AKP on their lives. The youth were involving the struggles not only for their educational rights but also for political freedoms, and ecological movements were resisting against the ecological devastation caused by AKP. The bourgeois change program was far from fulfilling all these demands. It was unable to give any solution for these freedom demands.
The revolutionary front shook fascism with several developments. With the Rojava revolution that started in 2012, the Gezi-June uprising in 2013, Kobane victory in 2014, the election victory of the HDP in June 2015, the entire Turkish state has lost its balance. The news of the beginning of the Rojava revolution has upset all the plans of fascism with which it sought supremacy in the Middle East. From the beginning, the Turkish state was and still is trying to destroy the revolution, first indirectly, with the help of the ISIS and al-Nusra gangs, but today through direct military interventions.
During the negotiation with the Kurdish freedom movement in 2013 the Turkish fascism thought to have the revolutionary situation in Northern Kurdistan under control, but then the Gezi uprising broke out as a revolutionary situation in Turkey. Erdogan's position was relieved by the lack of united, revolutionary leadership and lack of participation in the uprising in Northern Kurdistan.
Then there was the defense of the Rojava revolution, in which the resistance around Kobanê played a crucial role. Against the colonial fascism occurred between 6-8 October 2014 a popular uprising, the "Kobanê serhildan ", which spread from Northern Kurdistan to Turkey. It showed the degeneration of the foundations of the colonial fascist regime and the weakness of its rule. Fascism was able to save itself in its distress before this uprising, but it turned out that it would not be possible to integrate the Kurds into the monistic state system and to satisfy them with individual rights, rather than with free, equal rights like political rights of self-determination. But these equal political rights for the Kurdish nation are not possible to be achieved within the Turkish state, because even collective rights on the most limited possible ground would attack the existential basis of the Turkish Republic. Collective rights of Kurdish people open the path for democratic rights of a Kurdish unification beyond the colonialist borders. A unification beyond the colonialist borders would mean, that the Turkish state and all the other colonialist states would break down. That is why any achievement of the Kurdish freedom struggle, for example the Rojava Revolution, endangers Turkey, because they had an influence on Northern Kurdistan and colonialism in the entire region. If a democratic autonomy had been recognized in Northern Kurdistan, it would not have been possible for the Turkish Republic to continue its current form. Therefore, the fascist state had to intervene and develop an extermination plan against this revolutionary danger.
All these developments, the wide spread Gezi people's uprising, as well as a crisis in Turkish economy, the negotiation process between Turkish state and the Kurdish People's leader Abdullah Öcalan took place at the same time, when the inner-state struggles against Gulenists continued.
"Extermination Plan", the "Palace Coup" and Self-Governance Resistances
Erdogan agreed with the fascist generals on a new extermination strategy, which was intended to erase the idea of a national unity of Kurds in Northern Kurdistan with the other parts of Kurdistan. Shortly after the Kobanê uprising of 6-8 October, the MGK meeting was held, in which an extermination plan based on the model of Sri Lanka against the Tamils, was decided. After the HDP won a massive election victory on 7 June, 2015, the plan was put into action. Until that date, the negotiations between the Turkish state and the leader of the Kurdish people went on. With the ongoing negotiations the state tried to distract the Kurdish freedom movement. However, the Kurdish freedom movement was aware of this and preparing a revolutionary offensives against possible attacks.
As the HDP gained enormous mass force wheras the AKP lost support, Erdogan turned the tide during the electoral period. He has changed his attitude in order to preserve nationalist voices and lay the groundwork for post-election attacks. The "Dolmabahçe agreement", which was declared on 28 February 2015, with the presence both sides of the negotiation process, stating the basic concrete points of the new "peace" process without arms, was rejected and completely ignored by the state as if they weren't the one sitting on the same table. The election victory of the HDP of 13%, which exceeded the fascist election threshold of 10% and prevented an absolute majority of the AKP in the parliament, was a decisive danger for the fascism in terms of HDP's growing influence on Turkey's politics. At all costs, the state had to at least neutralize the progressive forces in Turkey. The connection of the Kurdish freedom movement with the organized and politically determined, anti-fascist, revolutionary forces within the Turkish masses had to be broken.
In this election, the AKP had failed to form a government, which had seriously damaged its presidential agenda. Thus, with the help of the fascist generals, a political-islamist fascist palace junta was formed.
That was a new kind of coup. The aim of this coup was to break the will of the Kurdish freedom movement, the anti-fascist, progressive forces and the combat unit of the Turkish workers and the oppressed with the Kurdish workers and the oppressed.
This palace coup started with a first major offensive on 20 July 2015, with a massacre organized with the help of ISIS, which targeted the Communist Youth Organization of MLKP in Suruc. Right afterwards, a large number of HDP buildings were attacked, destroyed and partially set on fire by civil fascists. Bombardments against guerrilla areas in South Kurdistan started. After the building of a coalition government, Erdogan canceled the elections and ordered reelections on November, 2015. Before these elections a mass rally for peace on 10 October in Ankara was again massacred with the help of ISIS.
Against these offensive shift, the Kurdish people, under the leadership of the Kurdish freedom movement, had practically implemented their right of self-determination in the proclamation of local governments in 2015. By rejecting the occupying forces of the colonial state, the people began to organize themselves through popular councils. Self-defense committees under the "Civil Defense Unities" (YPS), in which the MLKP urban guerillas did also take part, have defended the self-governing cities and neighborhoods. It was obvious that the regime's response should be tough. The excavated mines and self-defense units were a revolutionary resistance to the extermination attacks.
The state attacked with all its war apparatus and resources, but could not suppress these legendary resistances for months. This was a civil war between the colonial fascist state and the Kurdish people. This heroic resistance of the Kurdish freedom movement wrote history and ones again showed, that the structural regime crisis of the fascist bourgeois Turkish state is deepening.
In the following years, the extermination plan was implemented: waves of arrests; trustees deployed by Erdoğan in Northern Kurdistan municipalities and elected mayors were imprisoned; imprisonment of political representatives including HDP deputies; the occupation of cities in Kurdistan and their destruction; assassinations; desecration of the dead; intensified fascist state terror.
Torn State: Coup Attempt by an Old Ally
On 15 July 2016, the sudden attempt of a military coup took place, which was thwarted the next morning. The number of generals and officers, the commanding military units and bases, as well as the number of cities in which the attempt took place, have shown that this was a large-scale coup attempt. It was a coup attempt organized predominantly by nationalist-islamist parts of the Gulen movement. They wanted to take revenge for the defeat in the internal power struggle with Erdogan and seize again the state power. Apparently, the coup had been brought forward because the intelligence service received information about the coup plans and the following day leading generals of the coup were to be arrested.
This coup attempt was in reality a counter-coup attempt against Erdogan's presidential dictatorship, which started a palace coup and eroded power after the June 7, 2015 elections. This coup attempt of the generals was defeated due to the change of plans, insufficient low rank soldiers placed in the streets and their fear of shooting civilians and the last minute change of sides by some parts of the coup. In Ankara and Istanbul, it looked like the armed clashes took place between the police and the army, while the first one was siding with Erdoğan and the latter with the Gulenists, since the Gulenists in the police force had been removed and jailed in the last 3 years.
It was followed by the period of state of emergency declared on 20 July 2016, after which the dictator ruled with statutory decrees and became even more aggressive against any resistance.
Fascist Chieftaincy Regime as a Form to Consolidate the Dictatorship
With the state of emergency thousands of newspapers, journals, TV channels, radios, associations, NGO's have been closed; thousands of people, especially HDP members, have been imprisoned; more and more revolutionaries have been killed extralegally; academicians who signed an open letter for peace have been fired and cases have been opened against them; in general thousands of people have been fired through decrees, especially democratic trade unionist teachers; judiciary is being totally controlled by the dictatorship; strikes have been forbidden to protect the economy; municipalities are usurpted by the deployment of the trustees; cultural and environmental devastation took place. The palace dictatorship began to prepare itself openly for a civil war and organized paramilitary gangs on the streets.
Through a Referendum on April 16, 2017, which Erdogan won through state terror against the HDP and through cheating in the whole election process, the legal consolidation of the presidency system has been secured. This package has remained the prime ministry and the president gained the authority to appoint ministers outside the parliament, to dissolve the parliament and renew elections. The president has the power to declare states of emergency and remove basic rights by decrees. The president has the right to remain the chairman of his own party, AKP, which brought an official character to the party-state structure. To summarize, all the changes of this presidency system via these cheated elections provided the one-man-dictatorship of the chief Erdogan a legal basis.
Practically, Erdogan was well prepared for this, because he ruled in this way. He reorganized the military structures, institution of the state and removed the last remaining autonomy of the army. The bourgeois parliament lost any function, the state of emergency became the state of normality, the intelligence agency was newly designed, democratic rights have been abolished. This all happened before this referendum, but with the referendum it gained a legal "legitimacy".
The Political-Islamist Transformation of State Ideology
Besides the consolidation of a presidential dictatorship, the transformation of fascism by AKP took place primarily in the transformation of the state ideology. Kemalism, the doctrine of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had been the official state ideology since the 1930s where the political Islam was excluded from the state. Under the name of "secularization", the Sunni-Hanafi religion was used as an apparatus, the Alevism was ignored and the rights of belief of the Alevi people and other religious communities were suppressed. However, by the 1950's, under the leadership of Turkish prime minister Adnan Menderes, the path for the political Islam as an anti-communist apparatus within the US' "green-belt" policy was opened. In the military coup of September 12, 1980, the "Turkish-Islam synthesis" was developed to expand the social base of fascism to the parts that were not Kemalist in order to stifle any progressive thought in the bud. But these efforts, which were directed against socialist thoughts, ultimately served the development of political Islam. In addition to the development of political Islam, the basis of Kemalism was also limited by the strengthening struggles of the Kurds and Alevis. Kemalism has lost its dominance as a bourgeois state ideology. For the first time, political Islam became able to form a single-party government with the AKP and subsequently came to power. This does not mean, however, that Kemalism, which is the essence of the Turkish Republic, has been totally repealed from the state ideology.
Political Islam in its seizure of power has included Kemalism; it revised and claimed its "uniformity" understanding. The AKP was using all the benefits of power to build its political Islamist base against anti-state sentiments expressed through the pressure from Kurds and Alevis, through demands for socialism, national liberation, freedom of belief, and secularism. With the aim of Islamization of social consciousness, the AKP followed to attack all sections of society. 1980 putschist Kenan Evren was resorting to the "Turkish-Islam synthesis" while Erdogan tried to make the "Sunni Islam-Turkish synthesis" predominant.
Existential Crisis of Turkish Fascism
The whole history of AKP fascism, is the history of a desperate colonialist-fascist state to survive against the ongoing and uprising revolutionary and democratic forces and it is the history of inner-bourgeois struggles. Despite all the brutal state terror, despite the massacres and colonialist war, they could not suppress the Kurdish freedom will, they did not crush the revolutionaries and hope is still on the streets. They could not solve the regime crisis, they even sank deeper in their own inner-struggles. The regime crisis is not a periodic crisis. It roots in the existential fear of the state to lose its colonial yoke over Kurdistan, its monistic state legitimacy, to lose its own fundamental base. That us why, it is not important which part of the ruling class dominates fascism. Whether the generals, or the politic-Islamists, they all unite in protecting and following the colonialist fascist state character against the Kurdish people, in suppressing the revolutionary will of the workers, laborers and the oppressed, as well the integration of Turkey to the financial oligarchy via the financial economical colonization process.
The struggle for political freedom, the antifascist war against colonialism will be the answer of all the oppressed. Revolutionaries will continue to grow a united struggle to overthrow the fascist regime. Because the history of AKP fascism does not reflect only the political-islamist transformation of the state ideology, neither the absolute state terror, massacres and slaughters. This history is also marked by historic achievements of the revolutionary movement, legendary peoples-resistances in Kurdistan, the first nationwide uprising in Turkey, a unique unification of revolutionaries and democratic forces to a further level of organization, a first women's uprising in history of Turkey, military revolutionary fronts against fascism. Leaning on this revolutionary basis, the communist vanguard will keep on its unyielding fight, using all means and forms of the struggle to overthrow fascism and build socialism.