THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 22 June 2018


TURKEY’S FLAWED ELECTION

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

TURKISH leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won another term in office and gained far-reaching presidential powers but his reactionary AKP party has been forced into coalition with another right-wing bloc after failing to gain an outright majority in parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) now has to continue in coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), following snap elections that the opposition says were deeply flawed.

Turnout was a high 88.1 per cent and the result shows that Erdogan’s brand of populism, nationalism and conservative religious values remain robust. Yet the election showed a strengthening of the opposition.

Adam Schiff. a right-wing Democrat Congressman from California said “Erdogan ‘won’ re-election in Turkey this weekend only by decimating the opposition through arrests, violence and squashing freedom of the press. Turkey’s descent into autocracy is another reminder that democracy is under assault worldwide”. As Schiff is a supporter of the Armenian-American lobby, whose loathing of Turkey goes back to the massacre of some two million of their ancestors by the Turkish authorities during the first World War, his remarks are not surprising.

Muharrem Ince, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was more subdued. He merely talked about “unjust” presidential elections following modest gains which came nowhere near the expectations of the CHP-led opposition. Ince heads the social-democratic party that is the direct heir of the movement founded by General Mustafa Kemal, the founder of modern Turkey, who ruled the country from 1923 until his death in 1938.

In Turkish Kurdistan the vote was carried out under conditions bordering on martial law. Ove the past two years hundreds of mayors have been arrested and replace by appointed trustees of the central state and over 9,000 Turkish Kurds were arrested during the run-up to the election. But this failed to dent the support for the Kurds’ Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) whose vote went up even though their leader, Selahattin Demirtas, could only lead a very limited campaign as he’s been in prison since November 2016. They now have 59 MPs, up by nine, and have maintain their position as the third largest force in parliament and remain the leading party in the Kurdish region.

When the decision to hold the snap election was taken, the Communist Party of Turkey issued a warning stating that elections to be held under these conditions would not be legitimate: “With the recent regulations carried into effect, elections in Turkey have become a show that would yield nothing but the result Erdogan wants,” the communists said.

Even though the communist warning resonated with a large section of the population, the opposition of the establishment led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) managed to absorb millions into an unfounded optimism once again, leading them to a naïvetÉ that says, “Don’t worry, they can’t do anything.”

The Communist Party of Turkey is carrying on its efforts to get organised and struggle with great zeal. In the forthcoming days, the leadership of the party will determine a comprehensive roadmap to save those who stand with the left and the toiling masses of Turkey from despair and helplessness. Our party is the only of hope of those who say “you are right, but let this election pass first” and it will act upon this sense of responsibility.

An election can neither bring emancipation, the Turkish communists say, nor be an end or bring an absolute darkness on its own. Yes, millions of people have been left high and dry in Turkey on June 24, but the notion that Turkey is now finished is as ridiculous as the fairy tale claim that Turkey would be out of the woods simply by pursuing an unscrupulous alternative that approves all evils of the established order. Everybody should know that Turkey will not yield to darkness.