Reply to: Re: Voting Democrat was re: Cl

James Lawler jlawler at
Sat May 25 16:05:40 MDT 1996

	I would appreciate some suggested readings on this topic of the U.S.
supported coup.  I teach a course in World Civilization.  The textbook I
use for the second semester course (1500 to the present), Strayer's The
Making of the Modern World, has an interesting few pages on the Ottoman
Empire and modern Turkey.

	The writer says of Turkey's modernization under Mustafa Kemal:
"Like Japan in the nineteenth century, Turkey's transformation was largely
an `elite revolution' led by military and civilizn officials unburdened by
close ties to traditional landholding groups.  State-organized enterprises
were set up with centralized economic planning on the Soviet model, though
without the redistribution of wealth and social revolution that were part
of the Soviet Experience... Landlords kept their lands; most property was
owned privately... Despite the imitation of Western European parliamentary
politics, the Turkish government remained authoritarian.  Despite the
attacks on Islamic symbols Turkish society at the local level remained
firmly attached to Islamic traditions.  And despite the efforts at
developing a Turkish-controlled industrialization, the country remained in
a largelely dependent relationship with the more highly industrialize
regions of the world."

	After 1938 a multiparty parliamentary system "was allowed to
develop".  A more pro-Islamic orientation developed in 1950 with the
Democratic Party coming to power, and fundamentalist Islamic parties are
represented in parliament.  "But behind the democratic veneer and the
chronic threat of political instability stood the military, ready to
intervene when politicians appeared to lose control or yield to religious
pressures." (245)

   This is a large part of the picture of modern Turkey that is presented
in this textbook.  There is nothing about a U.S. supported coup in 1980.
I would be interested in Zeynep's comments about this presentation of
Turkey, and complementary histories.  Some of the remarks below suggest
general agreement with the main lines of this picture.

--Jim Lawler

On Fri, 24 May 1996, Zeynep Tufekcioglu wrote:

> I don't want to really comment on other people's countries much. But, from
> here, believe me it won't make one tiny bit of a difference for Turkey (or
> anywhere else in the world if you ask me) whether Dole or Clinton is
> elected. Carter (does he not have a Nobel Peace prize or something similar)
> was in power, when the US moderated and helped organise a coup d'etat here,
> one of the most brutal periods in history of this country ensued afterwards.
> So comrades in the States, think what would help your revolutionary struggle
> in your country. For us, it will not make a difference whether cholera or
> plague is elected.
> Zeynep
> P.S:
> Btw, anybody ever heard of a tactic called "active boycott"? That's when you
> refuse to vote, and organise people *not to vote* in the circus called
> elections. If you're strong enough, you burn the ballot boxes. Or even if
> you enter the elections as an independent, you pledge not to sit in the
> parliament if elected, the campaign is just another opportunity to speak up.
>      --- from list marxism at ---

     --- from list marxism at ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list