FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Turkey and War

Wholeheartedly or not, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP by its Turkish acronym) of Turkey is playing a very dangerous game. Squeezed between two pro-war minorities, the militarist elite ? led by the Army and its faithful underdogs in corporate media and political circles ? and the big bourgeoisie ? the “White Turks” of Istanbul business circles ? the neo-Islamist leadership of AKP (chiefly its “natural” leader Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul) is desperately trying to convince the rank-and-file that AKP has no more room to maneuver between supporting U.S. militarism and buttering up antiwar sentiments of Turkey’s citizens.

AKP’s MPs are basically told that they have to stop being self-respecting Muslims who believe in justice and democracy, that they have to ignore voices of protest coming from their grassroots constituencies which carried AKP to power, and that they have to be “realistic” about allowing the bombardment, starvation and massacre of another Muslim population. The successful passage of the February 6th resolution from the parliament, allowing the U.S. to modernize its military bases in Turkey and to use Mersin and Iskenderun harbors for the transportation of equipment, personnel and arms, was a definitive proof that the leadership has been successful in forcing the bitter pill of compromise down the throats of its MPs. As the second session on February 18th (during which the other resolution about allowing U.S. troops in the country will be voted) approaches, more and more antiwar groups are being mobilized throughout Turkey; as Koray Caliskan and Yuksel Taskin remind us in their beautifully written exposition of AKP’s dilemmas, recent polls show that an overwhelming 94% of Turkey’s citizens oppose a military campaign against Iraq.[1]

Whatever pressure a warmongering minority (which also controls and/or owns important economic and political resources in the country) puts on the government, whatever orders hidden behind the rhetoric of “friendly diplomacy” are given by the U.S. army-state, Turkey’s antiwar activists argue that the “realist” ground does not hold. AKP leadership’s fatalistic stance blinds the party to the fact that this strange creature called “national interests” is actually the brainchild of the Army, groomed by the caring arms of the Turkish bourgeoisie. The assumption that “there is no alternative” to the designs of the Bush administration for the Middle East is also part of the ideology behind “national interests” so stringently tried to be defended from a pro-war position.

The interests being “realistically” defended by the ruling powers, as long as the dispossessed multitudes of the country constitute the bulk of the “nation”, cannot be “national” interests. Being an accomplice (if not a direct agent) in the destruction of Iraqi lives, despite the promises of the so-called “realists” shedding crocodile tears as they secretly vote for war, cannot ensure our citizens’ security, welfare and dignity.

On the contrary, aiding the U.S. army-state in its crusade will ensure insecurity by disrupting the social and political dynamics of the region of which Turkey is a part and by giving more leverage to the “security establishment” in its own domestic policing campaigns which undermine the civil rights of Turkey’s citizens. The war will ensure that Turkey’s workers will be hit hardest by the looming economic losses, as the military and business elite appropriate war profits and war aids. Finally, being forced by the ruling politicians and officers to become an accomplice to the massacring of other human beings will also definitely ensure a decline of our moral integrity and self-esteem as members of a democratic polity.

Therefore, exerting physical and psychological violence on another people, whether they are members of another nation or members of an ethnic group with which constitutional citizenship is shared, is in direct, absolute contradiction with our real interests.

Peace and demilitarization of politics are in the interest of Turkey’s antiwar majority. So is social justice. And so is a politics of redistribution. As opposed to “national interests”, the pursuit of these inseparable interests can successfully challenge the already-bankrupt legitimacy of AKP and the credibility of the pro-war camp.

The antiwar movement in Turkey can and should fight for the realization of the real interests of the country’s many disenfranchised citizens, who struggle to survive in the country’s regime of “permanent crisis”.[2] The popular struggle for peace will not only open the way for the long-overdue democratization of the polity and for our empowerment as citizens, but also can help the people of Turkey to radically rethink their attitudes towards each other as members of different ethnicities and towards members of other nations.

Our message is clear: We shall not kill for the U.S. war machine, we shall not allow our citizens be killed for it, and we shall not passively watch as the government helps it kill. We have to keep pressuring the government until it submits to the real interests of the overwhelming majority of Turkey’s citizens. The growing antiwar movement all around the rest of the world is our inspiration.

Turkey belongs to a world without war.

Emrah Göker is a graduate student at Columbia University. He is also a member of the antiwar group Peace Initiative/Turkey based in New York City, which is organizing for the upcoming February 15th protest. His opinions are not necessarily those of Peace Initiative/Turkey. He can be reached at peaceinitiativeturkey@hotmail.com

[1] Koray Caliskan and Yuksel Taskin, “Litmus Test: Turkey’s Neo-Islamists Weigh War and Peace“, Middle East Report Online, .

[2] For a critical analysis of Turkey’s permanent crisis regime, see Sungur Savran and Nesecan Balkan, eds. (2002) The Politics of Permanent Crisis: Class, Ideology and State in Turkey, Nova Science Publishers, New York.

 

More articles by:
July 08, 2020
Laura Carlsen
Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People
Melvin Goodman
Afghanistan: What is to be Done?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
The End of the American Newspaper
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic
David Rosen
It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn
Nicolas J S Davies
Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme
Bob Lord
Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land
Laura Flanders
The Great American Lie
John Kendall Hawkins
Van Gogh’s Literary Influences
Marc Norton
Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy
Joel Schlosberg
“All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics
CounterPunch News Service
Tribes Defeat Trump Administration and NRA in 9th Circuit on Sacred Grizzly Bear Appeal
John Feffer
The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency
Nick Licata
Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests
Elliot Sperber
The Breonna Taylor Bridge
July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
Parth M.N.
Back to School in Rural India: Digital Divide to Digital Partition
Ed Sanders
The Burning of Newgate Prison: a Glyph
July 06, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Foreign Election Interference: Who is to Blame?
JoAnn Wypijewski
On Disposability and Rebellion: Insights From a Rank-and-File Insurgency
Marshall Auerback – Jan Frel
There’s a Hidden Economic Trendline That is Shattering the Global Trade System
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Just and Talented Government for Our Hazardous Age
Manuel García, Jr.
Biosphere Warming in Numbers
Ron Jacobs
Kidnapping Kids: As American as the Fourth of July
Tasha Jones
Pyramids. Plantations. Projects. Penitentiaries
Binoy Kampmark
Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze
Eve Ottenberg
Re-Organizing Labor
Mike Garrity
How We Stopped Trump From Trashing a Critical Montana Roadless Area in Grizzly Habitat
Nino Pagliccia
The Meaning of the 1811 Independence for Today’s Venezuela
Michael Galant
We Need a Global Green New Deal
Jill Richardson
Learning Not to Look Away
Marshall Sahlins
Donald Trump at 130,000 and Rising
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail