THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN TURKEY DEEPENS
statement by the Communist Party of Turkey
BEFORE THE LOCAL ELECTIONS
The AKP has been the ruling party of Turkey for the last 11 years. While the AKP represents the
interests of the capitalist class and its main policies are shaped according to these interests and its
collaboration with imperialism as any previous governments, the AKP’s reactionary policies
blended with a pro-market and pro-imperialist Islamism. It is important to note that the AKP as a
ruling party holds a special place in the Republic’s history. The AKP had the mission of officially
transforming the secular Kemalist Republic of 1923 into a new Islamist, neoliberal one. Full
privatization of public resources, an all-out attack on the working class with cutthroat neoliberal
policies on the economic front, full compliance with the dictates of the US imperialism and
subservience to its interests in the region on the foreign policy front were the defining attributes of
this new Republic. Backed by the international capital, the AKP was able to sustain the economy,
keeping the effects of the global economic crisis to a minimum possible.
Promoted to a “strategic ally” in the “Greater Middle East Project” by the US administration, the
AKP soon deployed a dramatic shift in its foreign policies. Branded as Neo-Ottomanism, the AKP’s
foreign policy was dominated by a Sunni neo-Ottoman vision that considered it a natural and
historical right for Turkey to dominate southern borders. As part of this new aggressive policy and
in line with the interests of US in the region, the AKP started acting more boldly towards the Syrian
crisis. Throughout the crisis, the AKP has provided shelter, funding and arms to the terrorist groups
fighting against the Syrian government.
The coalition of AKP and the Gülen movement
On the domestic front, the AKP consolidated many different religious sects and organizations into a
coalition of allies. There is one particular ally that stands out among these religious communities
that has played a major role in the transformation of the Republic: the Gülen movement. The
movement is known for thousands of religious and schools it runs over 140 countries including
Russia and former Soviet republics in the Central Asia. It also has substantial investments in
media, finance, and for–profit health clinics. Led by Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic preacher who
resides in the USA, the movement allegedly receives massive amounts of funding from the CIA.
Some of the movement’s schools in Russia were closed down because they were reportedly CIA
With its religious organizing within the ranks of the critical institutions of the Republic, the Gülen
movement played an instrumental role in the effort to shape the new Republic.
The transformation of the Kemalist Republic into an Islamist, neoliberal one
As the AKP and its coalition of allies headed by the Gülen Movement were gaining a strong hold in
the state mechanism, they also started a ruthless liquidation of the Kemalist elements from the
state. In the new regime, after gaining control of almost all universities, the AKP coalition moved on
to the judiciary with the Gülen movement given control over most of the judiciary as well as the
police force. In order to pacify the military, which had been active in the political scene up until
then, the AKP initiated a number of public trials like Ergenekon and Balyoz. Promoted as a
democratic effort to cleanse the “deep state”, these trials not only helped the AKP in locking up a
lot of military top brass, who could be potential problems for the new regime, but it was also a very
convenient tool for the AKP to silence and suppress all forms of opposition. Sentenced to jail on
fabricated evidences and incongruous indictments, the majority of the defendants sentenced were
journalists, writers, lawyers and military officers with a broad range of ideologies including
secularists, Kemalists, socialists and communists.
The collapse of the alliance between the AKP and the Gülen Movement
In the recent year, however, the AKP has lost favor within the ranks of the US and European
imperialism in terms of its credibility and reliability as a sustainable government. An account of the
reasons behind the decline of the AKP should emphasize the role of two failures:
The first was the total collapse of the AKP's foreign policy in Syria and the friction over whether to
support elements of the Syrian opposition directly linked to al-Qaida.
The second failure was the government's inability to control the incidents that led to the people's
uprising in June against its ever-expanding oppression and authoritarian rule at home, the
religionizing of the social life. Millions were out on the streets demanding the resignation of the
government. It became obvious to everyone, including the US ruling class that AKP would have
great difficulty in ruling the country without creating deeper crisis. The only force that kept the
government going was the single-handed and fascistic leadership of Erdogan.
Following these two failures of the AKP government, the alliance between the AKP and the Gülen
movement, which despite various minor turbulences and crisis had been sustained successfully for
years, has also started to fall apart.
December 17: The Graft Probe against the AKP led by the Gülen Movement
On December 17th, steered by the US administration, the “corruption and bribery” probe was
unleashed on the AKP by the prosecutors, judges and police affiliated with the Gülen movement. In
order to thwart the probe, the AKP quickly responded by replacing the pro-Gülen prosecutors and
police chiefs by ones loyal to Erdogan and stalled the judiciary process in order to cover up the
corruption. The regulations of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice were changed
forcing security forces to inform their seniors of their actions at all times so that AKP would not be
caught off-guard the next time. The State Council later rejected this regulation since it was in
violation of the constitutional principle of the “separation of powers”.
The second wave of the probe operation was initiated in Izmir on January 7 but the operation was
stalled after the members of the police involved in the operation were removed from the case.
According to claims, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son Bilal Erdogan was among the list of names, who
would have been detained in the second wave for interrogation on corruption charges.
In order to gain full control of the judiciary, AKP has now a pending measure to have the “Supreme
Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors”, HSYK, to become subject to the oversight of the
Justice Minister. HSYK is the body responsible for appointing judges. It has 27 members. The
opposition and the HSYK both have declared this bill to be unconstitutional since it would
completely eliminate the separation of powers between the government and judiciary. EU officials
have also warned the government against passing such a measure, but it doesn’t look like
Erdogan will be backing down.
The AKP’s trucks transferring arms to Syria
On January 1st 2014, in the southern province Hatay, acting on a tip, the Turkish gendarmerie
intercepted a truck allegedly carrying weapons and ammunitions to Syria. According to the reports,
the gendarmerie found out that there were MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization) officers
on board the truck. Despite the search warrant issued by the public prosecutor at the scene, the
search had to be halted upon receiving written orders by AKP’s Hatay governor. It was claimed that
the truck had been hired by the IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation). IHH, under AKP’s
supervision, is accused of using the money gathered from the public under the pretext of
humanitarian relief to send supplies to Al-Qaeda groups in Syria.
The prosecution did not have
any authority to issue a search warrant for the truck since the search would require special
permission from the prime ministry. The PM has deliberately twisted the application of the MIT law
in this incident in order to cover up the unlawful act of transferring arms to terrorists groups fighting
in Syria. The law in question dictates that PM’s permission is required for a criminal proceeding to
be initiated on MIT personnel suspected of illegal activity but gathering of evidence to prove illegal
activity is not subject to PM’s permission.
On January 14th, Turkish police conducted a simultaneous operation in six provinces against Al-
Qaeda. A local branch of the IHH in Kilis was also raided. At least five people with alleged links to
al-Qaeda, including an IHH employee were detained. Within hours of the operation, the
government dismissed two police chiefs, who were among the teams that carried out the operation.
On November 7th of last year, a similar truck allegedly hired by the IHH with a cargo of rocket
heads, bazookas, missiles, bombs and guns had been seized by the police in the southern
province of Adana near the Syrian border.
The incidents incited a debate in Turkey since the act of transferring arms to a group of armed
gangs fighting in a neighbor country is essentially a declaration of war against that country. This is
not only a clear violation of the 92nd article of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey which
states that the authority to declare war only belongs to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey but
it could also qualify as a “War Crime” and “Crimes against humanity” based on previous UN and
International Criminal Court rulings.
New options considered by the US
There is a very real and deep crisis of governance and Erdogan’s AKP does not have control of all
the state mechanism anymore. By a major reshuffling in the judiciary and the police force, AKP has
attempted to get back the control of these two institutions. Yet in the pipeline, there are probably
more deadly blows, similar to the graft probe the recent truck incident, waiting to be inflicted by the
“parallel state”, i.e. the Gülen movement as Erdogan refers to it now.
In the eyes of imperialism, it can also be said that it is over for Erdogan, if not for all of AKP cadres.
Led by the US, the imperialist countries are after new formulas, which, while replacing AKP, would
still allow the continuation of the main characteristics of the AKP regime. A potential option
considered is the combination of CHP, the main opposition party and the Gülen movement. It is
known that Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the CHP, has recently conducted negotiations with the
associations related to the Gülen movement. This is also the reason why there is a clear recent
shift to the right by CHP. This can be seen from the choice of CHP mayor candidates in the
upcoming local elections. Istanbul candidate is known to have strong ties with the Fethullah
movement, the Ankara candidate is a former MHP member (MHP is the nationalist right wing party)
and the candidate for Antakya is the former AKP mayor whom AKP has chosen not to nominate. It
can be said that the upcoming local elections will be a good testing ground for the imperialists to
put to test potential new actors for the future government of Turkey.
The Kurdish movement on the other hand has to wait for the final victor of the fight between the
AKP and the Gülen movement to take any clear positions, a tough wait-and-see mode. In the
meantime, they cannot really burn bridges with Erdogan. At first they took a position that implicitly
defending the AKP against the Gülen movement, since the collapse of the AKP government would
mean the end of the so-called Kurdish peace process led by Erdogan. However, as the Kurdish
movement has been witnessing the endurance and cruelty of the fight, they have adopted a more
wary rhetoric lately.
International Bureau of TKP
Communist Party of Turkey