Discussions On A New Constitution Of The Turkish Republic
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International Bulletin / Issue 200 / July 2019

Barely a year has passed since the "presidential system" entered into force, which created a constitutional framework for the regime of Erdogan‘s palace. And yet the discussions about the constitution never cease. While the fascist coalition of the AKP - MHP intends to limit these discussions to a so-called "rehabilitation", the bourgeois opposition led by the CHP seeks to promote a constitutional "reorganization" to strengthen the parliamentary system.
Undoubtedly, the unresolved structural crisis of the Turkish regime, which has developed into a multi-dimensional crisis, has triggered the debate.
Can this Turkish state paradigm, which has established a presidential system through systemic changes in the regime, resolve the structural crisis with a constitutional discourse without abolishing the one-man state structure?
We are not talking about a socialist or a revolutionary-democratic republic.
Even in the bourgeois sense, it is not possible to create a democratic state system based on the current fascist status quo of this state paradox.
For example, could the current state structure establish a constitutional article that includes the existence of the Kurdish nation? Or could it set aside its Sunni-Hanafi confessionalism and guarantee the equality of the Alevis?
Or guarantee the rights of other oppressed nations? Could it include a free, native-language education or provide democratic, autonomous universities? Could it remove the obstacles to the organization of labor? Could it establish structural mechanisms for women‘s equality and freedom? Could it go into a production model that is not based on the destruction of nature?
Could it, summarized, meet the demand of the oppressed for political freedom without overturning the present state paradigm, but only through a constitutional change?
We can continue the list of questions, but already the questions above are sufficient to understand that structural issues cannot be solved with a constitutional compromise.
Any constitutional discussion that includes the „founding code" of the Turkish state paradigm (a state based on the dogma of only one nation, one confession etc.) cannot create a social contract even in the bourgeois sense.
The multiple struggles, revolts and massacres in the nearly 100-year history of the Turkish Republic prove this fact. The regime crisis cannot be solved because of this problem neither with a Kemalist paradigm, nor with the political-Islamic palace regime. The proposal of a „strengthened parliamentary"system will not be a major change for the oppressed. In today‘s era of imperialist globalization, which is marked by an existential crisis of capitalism, the rise of political reaction, the crisis of bourgeois democracy and its parliamentary order, are widespread phenomena. In the light of these conditions, the forces that advocate a policy for the oppressed, must seek an all-encompassing new order with the mechanisms for securing a new social contract, rather than the rehabilitation or reorganization of the ruling order.
The oppressed need their own programmatic, organizational and political front, which we call „the Third Way". Any discussion that wants to go the Third Way without independent action, without the perspective of an all-embracing system change, cannot go beyond the reproduction of the existing order. Within the labor-left movement in Turkey, there are some problems regarding this approach. Of course, we reject the leftist apolitism, which wants to respond these discussions resulting from the crisis roughly with the revolution. The revolutionary-democratic forces must grasp the ignited discussions on the basis of the reform-revolution dialectic and position the oppressed as their own, independent force against this order. Only if the discussions concerning the constitution, or, more correctly, the new social contract are combined with a political movement for the own demands of the oppressed, they will produce a genuinely revolutionary-democratic action. Let us remember that the New Life project that launched HDP and HDK has created exactly the programmatic ground for this line.
The HDP‘s election successes beginning with 2015 have not only thrown overboard the electoral hurdles of fascism, they have confronted the dictatorship with a revolutionary-democratic program that seeks to distribute power locally and guarantees the self-government of nations and faiths, that stands for gender freedom, ecology and labor. In the presidential election, the HDP‘s slogan „We will not make you (Erdogan) president" has created a polarization that prevented the AKP from forming a government. Exactly, today the political confrontation happens between the palace and the people. But the deepening of this polarization for the liberation of the oppressed cannot be achieved by winning the oppressed for the constitutional discussions of the CHP and its allies. The crisis of the ruling order and the constitutional discussions as a manifestation of this must be confronted with a political mass movement, which includes the concrete demands of the oppressed. This includes the just and democratic solution of the Kurdish question; the legal equality of all oppressed nations and confessions; the removal of all restrictions on freedom of expression, action and organization; the release of all political prisoners; free, scientific education in native-languages; autonomous universities; the protection of nature; a new economic model; a political system for the freedom of women; the freedom of the LGBTI +; a political order in which the laborers are directly involved; so overall political freedom. The organization of the oppressed as a third front will pave the way for a free life.

 

 

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Discussions On A New Constitution Of The Turkish Republic
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International Bulletin / Issue 200 / July 2019

Barely a year has passed since the "presidential system" entered into force, which created a constitutional framework for the regime of Erdogan‘s palace. And yet the discussions about the constitution never cease. While the fascist coalition of the AKP - MHP intends to limit these discussions to a so-called "rehabilitation", the bourgeois opposition led by the CHP seeks to promote a constitutional "reorganization" to strengthen the parliamentary system.
Undoubtedly, the unresolved structural crisis of the Turkish regime, which has developed into a multi-dimensional crisis, has triggered the debate.
Can this Turkish state paradigm, which has established a presidential system through systemic changes in the regime, resolve the structural crisis with a constitutional discourse without abolishing the one-man state structure?
We are not talking about a socialist or a revolutionary-democratic republic.
Even in the bourgeois sense, it is not possible to create a democratic state system based on the current fascist status quo of this state paradox.
For example, could the current state structure establish a constitutional article that includes the existence of the Kurdish nation? Or could it set aside its Sunni-Hanafi confessionalism and guarantee the equality of the Alevis?
Or guarantee the rights of other oppressed nations? Could it include a free, native-language education or provide democratic, autonomous universities? Could it remove the obstacles to the organization of labor? Could it establish structural mechanisms for women‘s equality and freedom? Could it go into a production model that is not based on the destruction of nature?
Could it, summarized, meet the demand of the oppressed for political freedom without overturning the present state paradigm, but only through a constitutional change?
We can continue the list of questions, but already the questions above are sufficient to understand that structural issues cannot be solved with a constitutional compromise.
Any constitutional discussion that includes the „founding code" of the Turkish state paradigm (a state based on the dogma of only one nation, one confession etc.) cannot create a social contract even in the bourgeois sense.
The multiple struggles, revolts and massacres in the nearly 100-year history of the Turkish Republic prove this fact. The regime crisis cannot be solved because of this problem neither with a Kemalist paradigm, nor with the political-Islamic palace regime. The proposal of a „strengthened parliamentary"system will not be a major change for the oppressed. In today‘s era of imperialist globalization, which is marked by an existential crisis of capitalism, the rise of political reaction, the crisis of bourgeois democracy and its parliamentary order, are widespread phenomena. In the light of these conditions, the forces that advocate a policy for the oppressed, must seek an all-encompassing new order with the mechanisms for securing a new social contract, rather than the rehabilitation or reorganization of the ruling order.
The oppressed need their own programmatic, organizational and political front, which we call „the Third Way". Any discussion that wants to go the Third Way without independent action, without the perspective of an all-embracing system change, cannot go beyond the reproduction of the existing order. Within the labor-left movement in Turkey, there are some problems regarding this approach. Of course, we reject the leftist apolitism, which wants to respond these discussions resulting from the crisis roughly with the revolution. The revolutionary-democratic forces must grasp the ignited discussions on the basis of the reform-revolution dialectic and position the oppressed as their own, independent force against this order. Only if the discussions concerning the constitution, or, more correctly, the new social contract are combined with a political movement for the own demands of the oppressed, they will produce a genuinely revolutionary-democratic action. Let us remember that the New Life project that launched HDP and HDK has created exactly the programmatic ground for this line.
The HDP‘s election successes beginning with 2015 have not only thrown overboard the electoral hurdles of fascism, they have confronted the dictatorship with a revolutionary-democratic program that seeks to distribute power locally and guarantees the self-government of nations and faiths, that stands for gender freedom, ecology and labor. In the presidential election, the HDP‘s slogan „We will not make you (Erdogan) president" has created a polarization that prevented the AKP from forming a government. Exactly, today the political confrontation happens between the palace and the people. But the deepening of this polarization for the liberation of the oppressed cannot be achieved by winning the oppressed for the constitutional discussions of the CHP and its allies. The crisis of the ruling order and the constitutional discussions as a manifestation of this must be confronted with a political mass movement, which includes the concrete demands of the oppressed. This includes the just and democratic solution of the Kurdish question; the legal equality of all oppressed nations and confessions; the removal of all restrictions on freedom of expression, action and organization; the release of all political prisoners; free, scientific education in native-languages; autonomous universities; the protection of nature; a new economic model; a political system for the freedom of women; the freedom of the LGBTI +; a political order in which the laborers are directly involved; so overall political freedom. The organization of the oppressed as a third front will pave the way for a free life.