[Marxism] Is Turkey Leaving the West? (from "Foreign Affairs")

Nestor Gorojovsky nmgoro at gmail.com
Thu Oct 29 09:40:53 MDT 2009

Not been following Turkish events. But the posting by Emrah Goker 
puzzled me.

Could somebody describe the different divisions in the ruling classes in 
Turkey today?

In the sense that Gramsci said that "parties are the nomenclature of 
classes". What is the rift between the bourgeois AKP and the bourgeois 
nationalists mean?

Emrah Goker escribió:
> A few cents from here, Ankara:
> I don't condone ad hominem attacks on authors before commenting on
> what they have actually said, but as a trained sociologist, I do
> believe that organizational / network affiliations have the power to
> shape our political convictions. Cagaptay (author of the FA article)
> has been an astute anti-Islamist and anti-AKP analyst, from a hawkish
> perspective. His views have always been in alignment with the official
> line of Israeli foreign policy. As far as I know, Washington Institute
> for Near East Policy is known for its vicious anti-Arab and
> anti-Muslim rhetoric and has ties with AIPAC.[*]
> That Turkey is drifting towards the radical wing of the "Muslim World"
> is a gross manipulation, which I read as an agit-prop attempt to pull
> US public opinion more towards Israel and against Turkey concerning
> "leadership in the Middle East". I don't know to what extent Obama and
> the State Department are convinced. (From what I gather here, Turkish
> Foreign Ministry acts as if encouraged by the US in its recent
> initiatives.) I have no sympathy for what AKP stands for in my
> country, but (I believe I have written this at length on Marxmail
> before) the rank-and-file of the party are neoliberal pragmatists,
> perhaps of a more moderate/less crony disposition than Berlusconi.
> Their interpretation of the good old religion is socially
> conservative, as %70 of citizens vote socially *very* conservative for
> the last 30 years. That's the name of the game. But they also are the
> most successful centre-right organization so far in terms of
> integrating bourgeois-democratic processes with social conservatism in
> governing Turkey. There is a divided and weakened nationalist
> opposition in front of them, which also helped reinforce their
> positions in the bureaucracy and public opinion.
> Now with the momentum of electoral support (%40-45 of the voters), AKP
> is trying to push a few agendas which further undermines the military
> and civilian supporters of old-style Kemalism:
> 1. Resuscitating the EU integration process.
> 2. Given the strong possibility that EU doors will remain shut for
> Turkey, digging a "strong regional leadership" position in the Middle
> East: Recent dances with Armenia, Iran, Syria, Northern Iraq (all
> neighbors), Lebanon, and the "close encounters of the democratic kind"
> with Turkish Kurds, are all parts of that initiative. Trying to push
> Israel out of the way in this "leadership" business is another must.
> AKP must be thinking that the Obama administration can be convinced,
> and that maybe Israel can be persuaded to cautiously step back, at
> least temporarily, as Turkey boasts about being the "Muslim leader for
> peace and prosperity". This initiative is not about a fundamentalist
> will to unify Sunni Muslims and establish a theocratic empire, this is
> stupid. But this is what radical Kemalists believe in, anyway.
> Remember: Kemalists hate the Arabic and Armenian East, both for their
> culture, and for their "treason" in the pre-Republican era. Whereas
> AKP is fond of using the "Ottoman co-existence" rhetoric to justify
> the new leadership initiative.
> 3. Dismantling the domestic radical-Kemalist military and paramilitary
> networks.
> The "paramilitary" part of this dismantling is well underway. By now,
> after 7 years, almost the entire police organization is co-opted by
> various Sunni denominations which are close to the party organization,
> as well as the Fethullah Gülen network. By 2012 (official end of the
> current term), I believe that AKP will have total control of the
> paramilitary network. There is nothing democratic about that, by the
> way. Police violence is on the rise and will become an acute problem
> the administration will have to address. At the moment nobody (at
> least organizationally) challenges police violence since military
> violence and getting rid of it occupies the agenda. As for that tricky
> part: I don't think the radical elements in the Army will revolt and
> attempt a coup. Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has been a loyal NATO
> sidekick, despite the fact that TAF is not on the same page with NATO
> on some issues. First and foremost, the dominant leadership of TAF has
> too many economic interests at stake, after all those years of
> armament trade, NATO-funded specialist training, etc. There are too
> many neoliberal generals today. They may not like AKP culturally, but
> they believe in survival, and as cases like Ergenekon dig up the
> corpse-stinking dirt of the Turco-Kurdish war, these generals have
> negotiated with the government in order to stay clean. Some of the
> high-ranking generals have even begun snitching about illegal TAF
> schemes to destabilize the government through psychological warfare.
> Dismantling radical elements from TAF will not be easy, and will be
> incomplete. AKP cannot (as long as the Constitution remains the same)
> have its own, religious, socially conservative battalion of officers
> in TAF, the way it did in the police organization. I believe there
> will be further negotiations, some military heads will roll and TAF
> will be contained. There is no way, in the current situation where
> there are so many high-profile security leaks, a coup can be organized
> and executed. There are elements in the police intelligence and
> National Intelligence Organization, close to the government, which
> monitor suspicious TAF networks.
> So, no, Turkey is not leaving the West, unless the West decides Turkey
> is a lost case. It is not becoming a theocracy under AKP. It is still
> a hellhole of sexism, discrimination, anti-union policies, poverty and
> unemployment, religious zealotry and precarity, like the next
> bourgeois-democratic regime in Europe.
> ...
> [*] Cagaptay is no simple-minded, pro-Army Kemalist. Check around the
> net, he has some good critical academic analyses on early Turkish
> nation-building and ethnicization of citizenship. I believe he likes
> the role of the auto-orientalist analyst who carries "opinion from my
> country" to his civilized masters.
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