Translated from Turkish by Translators of Justice
WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN?
No doubt during these hours in which the turn of events is still unknown, conjectures about the progression of events might appear to be unsound. Even if speculating on specifics is not possible, we can nonetheless make conjectures on the general course of events, if not on their particular aspects, by focusing on political forces and their individual characters. We have been making this analogy again and again and for the longest time: “Right now, we are experiencing the later phase of Democrat Party, the period after 1955. What lies ahead is May 27” We were drawing attention to the parallelism between the practices of Adnan Menderes and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A similar historical turn probably lies ahead of us.
Why would history repeat itself in such a way?
There are sociological reasons behind it, pertaining to the force, character and interests of classes. Military bureaucratic oligarchy (CHP) and bourgeoisie (DP, AP, ANAP, AKP) confer legitimacy to each other’s existence.
First, bourgeoisie, because it is anti-democratic, refuses to unite the greatest number of masses with a series of democratic reforms, and cannot dismantle this expensive, coercive, and bureaucratic state apparatus and it only limits itself with taking the existent apparatus under its control. But when this apparatus is left as it is, the material base of the Military Oligarchic Bureaucracy (this extremely coercive, centralized, bureaucratic, military, and arbitrary mechanism) also remains intact. It awaits the decay and the imprudence of the opposite side to reclaim its political force. The opposite side, because it is not democratic, resorts to implementations that push half of the population to the other side. This dissatisfaction recoils upon it. Though the urban populace comprises a smaller section of the general population, it nevertheless exercises a greater influential force over social uprisings insofar as the cities are the nerve ends of modern society. Accordinly, the opposite side resorts to violence to crush and intimidate it. In this impasse, the army returns to the scene as a balancing force and savior.
Second, the military bureaucratic oligarchy is flexible. It is as flexible as the bourgeoisie and even more so. When it appeared under the form of the Byzantine Empire, it made an alliance with the Ottomans and thereby renewed itself. When it appeared under the form of the Ottoman Empire, it demonstrated an incredible flexibility with the transformations in the Tanzimat Era, Constitutional Period, Republican Era and the Multi-Party System and survived to this day. The military bureaucratic oligarchy can demonstrate a similar flexibility today too, and prolong its life for another fifty years. In fact, AKP in power has itself provided this strata with the necessary flexibility and vigor with the Ergenekon arrests. In any case, if this strata had not consented to the Ergenekon arrests, these arrests—in other words, the cleaning of the intestines of the bureaucracy—could not have been undertaken. Like February 28 which has given new blood to the Islamic movement, the Ergenekon arrests have restored the flexibility of the military bureaucratic oligarchy and given new blood to it. We have mentioned above the reversal of the front within the last few years. Erdoğan has taken on an authoritative and anti-democratic appearance and the opposition has fallen into the position of the underdog and has become the defender of democracy. At this moment, this appearance has been fairly reinforced. That is to say, if the staff officers of political Islam such as Gül, Arınç does not take the matter in their hands and enable the resignation of Tayyip Erdoğan and undertake a restoration movement, the events might result in a coup—a coup which will arrive as a savior. But if the AKP staff officers can ensure the resignation of the prime minister, they will then make reparations and things could be handled in a civil manner for an interim period with a government which will take a step back from what the prime minister has so far implemented. However, the centralization of power in his hands is Erdoğan’s biggest handicap. He has made himself fall into a trap and he has not left anyone to save him from his own trap. No one is in a position to dissuade him into retreating. Accordingly, the events will most probably continue to escalate because neither the resistance nor Erdoğan can retreat after this point. To retreat would be the end of Erdoğan and this is why he has to go further. But inasmuch as he goes further, the reactions will ascend. The overcoming of the limit of fear will force the government in power into using a firm hand. But this will inflame the struggle.
In summary, there is no civil solution except the resignation of Erdoğan. But there is no mechanism to force him to resign. There is another possibility: the followers of Fethullah Gülen might divide AKP and Erdoğan might end up in a marginalized section of the party. This is what happened in Demirel’s AP in late 1960s. The rumors about the meetings between Fethullah Gülen and CHP might be a sign for such a turn of events. Taraf, Zaman, Gül, Arınç, Mayor of İstanbul Topbaş, Minister of Education Ertuğrul Günay etc. have all sided against Erdoğan at present. He is in a state of isolation. If a solution does not come out of political Islam, the events will lead to a coup. As of today, fortunately no one has died. But this violence will bring about deaths after a while. Then, the event will have its martyrs as well. The way things are going, a coup is in the horizon and it will be staged by Erdoğan’s most trusted generals. Allende was also carried to power by trustworthy generals and they toppled him over.
What happens then? The regime of a savior, a balancing force reigns. It would restore the parliamentary regime in a short period of time because it would be once again vested with prestige and power. Conceivably, it will make a constitution which would integrate the Kurds into the system. That is to say, a second version of May 27. Öcalan might even become prime minister. Just like the Byzantines who had extended the life of their empire with the Ottoman graft, the Kurdish graft could prolong this regime for at least forty years. Just like the Roman-Byzantine Empire that had advanced in the East and pushed Iran to its present borders—an Iran that had chased it to the Aegean coast with the Seljuk graft. A Turkish-Kurdish military bureaucratic oligarchy that has been grafted with the Kurds and has covered up its obscene side with the parliament as a vine leaf might appear as a savior to the peoples of Syria and Iraq who are sick and tired of sectarian and tribal clashes and can spread till Baghdad and Damascus.
History shows that things generally come to unfold in this way. If a miracle happens and the working class awakens from its historical sleep and regains its forgotten democratic ideals, a revolutionary democratic Middle Eastern Democratic Republic might take the place of a Middle East, as if it were bonded in a Prussian unity. But this possibility is almost nil at this moment.