Socialists in Turkey: There is a strong ground for struggle

Although the opposition did not win the elections, a ground for a stronger struggle was formed, say socialists in Turkey.

Turkey’s socialists have started to self-criticize after the elections. They spoke to ANF about the results of May's presidential and parliamentary elections.


Hakan Öztürk, Chair of the Laborers' Movement Party, defined elections as a field of struggle and highlighted the possibility of fraud by the ruling classes. He said: “Election results give us the opportunity to discuss our mistakes. Now we see a dynamic process. The people withdrew their support from the ruling AKP to some extent, but not from Erdogan. This means that the conditions created by the AKP government by putting pressure on the Central Bank were effective. An unprecedented amount of funds was used by the government for its election campaign, halting the political trend against the government. Depending on the economic conditions, large sections of the public once again came to a standstill. We see that we have not reached the point where any retreat is impossible.”


Stressing that half of Turkey rejected Erdogan and the regime despite all the conditions, Öztürk continued: “Moreover, these conditions are extremely unfair. The AKP regime has no chance of winning elections except under such extraordinarily unfair conditions. Erdogan received 52 percent of the vote while his rival Kılıçdaroğlu got 48 percent. We are far beyond the previous equation proposing that 70 percent of Turkey is right (against change), 30 percent is left (for change).”


Öztürk pointed out that during the election campaign, public services, including nutrition, shelter, education and health, were not debated. He said: “Even a simple video,which the President also admitted to be fake, seriously affected the process. Therefore, trying to avoid discussing the Kurdish question is not a solution. We should talk about the basic economic conditions of the country and the Kurdish question. There is a problem with property relations in this country and there is a Kurdish question. We should be able to talk about the property question and the Kurdish question in a normal and just way.”


Öztürk remarked that history often progressed slowly, and basic conditions did not change according to the wishes of socialists. He added: “We cannot choose the objective conditions. We experienced 12 March, 12 September, the 90's and resisted. We will resist again, and we will walk again.”


Socialist Refoundation Party (SYKP) Istanbul Provincial Co-Chair Gürşenay Dalveren said that despite all the black propaganda and deceptions of the government, 48 percent of the people did not accept this monstrous system. Dalveren stated that they faced fraud, lies and conspiracies by the state and the AKP. "During its 22-year rule, the AKP made a certain percentage of voters depend on itself. The people who were made rich by the AKP did not want to give up on the AKP, and the state mobilized all its resources for this purpose. The opposition was fragmentary and could not fully explain to the masses what they would lose. Our inability to introduce policies at a sufficient level, our inability to consolidate the electorate and the restriction of the election campaign to distributing leaflets were our mistakes. The important thing is that we could not get the parliamentary majority. The Labour and Freedom Alliance, which offered 10% support to the Nation's Alliance candidate in the 28 May election, was ignored and nationalist discourses were circulated. Some of the voters did not go to the polls in the second round.”

"We need to admit that we did not win this election. Without falling into despair and pessimism, it is necessary to grasp the reality that we are facing in this process when fascism is institutionalized. By subjecting ourselves to criticism and self-criticism mechanisms, we need to stand up and deal with this process correctly.”


Senem Doruk, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), stated that the election results were not surprising. She added that it was almost impossible for an opposition that imitates Erdogan to win an election in order to get rid of him.

Doruk revealed that they called support for Kılıçdaroğlu not because they embraced the Nation's Alliance or Kılıçdaroğlu, but because they did not want to allow Turkish society to fall into pessimism and wanted to get rid of Erdogan. She said: “We worked with all our might both before and during the election, but we knew that this was not enough. Because this is the case not just in Turkey, but also in the entire world, there is no possibility of a permanent solution through ballot boxes. Convincing society that emancipation can only be achieved through elections and ballot boxes will not bring emancipation. Election dreams must be left behind now.”


Doruk stressed that the opposition helped Erdogan win the elections, and this was not the first time. She continued: “Moreover, we must openly say that Erdogan did not win the elections alone. The opposition directly helped Erdogan win the elections. This is not just something we experienced in the last election. Remember the CHP's presidential candidate right after the Gezi Park Uprising… It is not only that Erdogan was re-elected, but also the most reactionary parliament in history was formed after the elections. We must have the people stand up before this parliament. Political spheres outside the parliament must gain importance. For example, we need to avoid the perception that demonstrations on the street are a crime. We must seek our rights in every field. Considering the election results, no one has the right to try to put pressure on us revolutionaries, communists, saying that "this is not the time."


Hakan Dilmeç, a representative of the Kaldirac (Leverage) Movement, stated that Erdogan actually has not been able to win since the elections on June 7, 2015, but the opposition did not want to win the elections either. Dilmeç said that all the election fraud in the presidential elections were swept under the rug because the opposition did not make an objection. This silence caused the election results to be perceived as if they were genuine.

Dilmeç emphasized that it was wrong to make political analyses based on these results. He stated: “The election results are not real. One must know this in the first place. We already thought that it would be like this. There is an ongoing war in the region, or rather a war to divide the region, and the USA has been using Turkey as a hatchet man for a long time. They wanted to keep moving with Erdogan for the continuation of these war policies. Pressures on the working class, workers, peoples, women, students and young people will continue to increase. A Palace regime, which caused all kinds of economic, political, social crises, is trying to hold on to power through attacks. We kept saying this during the election process. It is necessary to put forward a common struggle based on resistance. Maybe it would make sense to use the elections for this, but there, too, the Labour and Freedom Alliance should have introduced its own candidate and made its own propaganda. We think that this was a big mistake. From now on, we will develop the common struggle. We will work together to expand the resistance.”

The Social Freedom Party Term Spokesperson Pelin Kahiloğulları emphasized that even though the election results helped the institutionalization of fascism, the people were not defeated. She said: “Now, besides his undistinguished victory, Erdogan has a collapsed economy and a dubious government which oscillates between NATO and Russia."

Kahiloğulları said that the CHP adopted an approach that accepted all the impositions of Erdogan during the election process, which made it lose credibility in the eyes of the people.


Kahiloğulları added: “Instead of the elections and the parliament, which the people think could offer solutions to multiple crises, there are conditions where people could trust in themselves and meet their needs only through their own struggle. It is imperative not to make a pause for a moment in the fight against jihadist gangs, misogynists, and the enemies of the Kurds and Alevis. The votes received by the ruling party in Anatolian cities were the product of a union of corruption and business-government relationships, as well as the strengthening of the nationalist-conservative structure of those regions by the religious communities.

Even the organization of local workers' resistance that rises in certain periods is an urgent need for the democratic transformation of the country. Otherwise, the poverty to which the working class is subjected would not automatically produce an attitude of resistance . The ruling power could produce legitimacy by managing poverty, which is based on conscious policies through religious communities, local governments and pro-business unions.


The process of subjectification of the people, the ground for which was laid in the Kurdish people's movement and the Gezi uprising, and their coming to power by becoming a subject have not been defeated. Yes, Erdogan is going his own way, but the people have not been defeated in their own way, and the election process has shown that taking that path faster and stronger is needed for living.

Just as the process of institutionalization of fascism carried out by the ruling forces is making its own way, the people can also make their own way! We will promote a popular-democratic option with our own march.”