Turkey

The economic crisis gripping Turkey has pushed the Turkish ruling class into a political crisis. Splits and divisions are opening up in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its electoral partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). These events are a harbinger of revolution.

The workers of Turkey are beginning to make the ruling class tremble. A strike wave is rapidly spreading across the country. Beginning among some of the most precariously employed workers, it has spread from factory to factory. From 6 January to 14 February, there have been 65 strikes across Turkey, with new strikes erupting every day. As the strike wave has progressed, it has threatened to draw in the heavy battalions of the working class, and has already brought in workers from Erdoğan’s own heartland.

After nearly 19 years in power, the strongman image of Turkey’s longest-sitting head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is rapidly deteriorating. The world economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered another, severe blow to his crisis-ridden regime.

The Turkish working class is beginning to move as a series of strikes and protests spread across the country. Factory workers; textile workers; construction workers; health workers; postal workers; service workers; miners; airline workers; press workers; municipality workers; and more have begun fighting back against union busting, unfair contracts, layoffs, dismissals, and unpaid wages.

For over two months now, the Turkish state and president Erdogan's regime have faced attacks from a seemingly unlikely source. Sedat Peker, a notorious mafia boss in exile, with a long record of criminal activity and of intriguingly short jail sentences, has released a video almost every Sunday for the past two months in which he claims to expose the details of connections between important AKP officials, the Turkish state, and organised crime.

Protests erupted across Turkey on Saturday 20 March after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul convention, an international treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. The withdrawal has sparked anger, thousands have taken to the streets at protests throughout the country. 

For several weeks now, Turkey has been making international headlines for various reasons. Not the least of these were the back-to-back sackings of the governor of the Central Bank, Naci Ağbal, on 19 March, followed by his deputy. Erdoğan’s move was followed by a sharp 15% one-day collapse in the value of the lira. Mainstream, bourgeois economists were aghast at what they regarded as insane, erratic behaviour from Erdoğan. But there is method in the madness. Above all, Erdoğan is terrified of a social explosion.

Last Tuesday, a wave of student protests erupted in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul. Students from the Boğaziçi University protested against the new rector of the university and former wannabe parliamentary candidate for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP-party, Melih Bulu, who was appointed to the university post on 2 January by Erdogan’s decree. 

In recent weeks, the potential for open conflict between various states in the South-Eastern Mediterranean has increased dramatically. The Communist Tendency (IMT section in Greece) has already released a statement on the escalation of war tensions between Greece and Turkey over access to hydrocarbons in specific areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Since then, the Turkish air force and navy have been carrying out military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean, which the Egyptian and French navy have countered with their

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With a presidential decree signed on 10 July, Erdogan’s regime decided to convert Hagia Sophia, a historical Byzantine church built in 534 AD, from a museum into a place of Muslim worship. The Byzantine monument was turned into a museum in 1934 with a decree from the founder of the modern bourgeois state, Kemal Ataturk, and marked the secular character of the Turkish state. The conversion is a symbolic act that seeks to emphasise the neo-Ottoman imperialist plans of the “Sultan” Erdogan and the reactionary Turkish bourgeoisie.

A sharpening of tensions between Greece and Turkey reflects both the ruling classes of these nations attempting to get a bigger share of the oil and gas under the Eastern Mediterranean and the changed balance of power between the two countries. The labour movement of Greece and Turkey need to stand firmly against any warmongering or nationalist division and engage in united struggle for a socialist transformation of society!

140,000 Turkish metal workers, including those in the important automotive and white goods manufacturers, are set to strike in early February after negotiations with the bosses’ organisation broke down.

After a phone conversation with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyib Erdogan last Sunday, Donald Trump promptly stated that they had agreed on a withdrawal of US troops from Kurdish areas of Northern Syria and given the green light for a Turkish incursion. As of yesterday afternoon, this invasion has begun.