rotests and demonstrations opposing the ruling AKP in Turkey have rocked Istanbul, Ankara, and other cities over the last week. There are a number of demands, social and economic, but also significant among them is the demand to pull out of Syrian intrigues, end the alliance with NATO and USrael, and even for Erdogan to step down. This is either aimed at ushering in new elections before the 2014-2015 election cycle or possibly even something more radical than this. Naturally the latter possibility will depend in large part on both the role of the trade unions and the military. Both institutions having large numbers of sympathizers of nationalism (and related), Kemalism, and communism (and related); these can with some provisos be placed under the category ‘Eurasianist Current in Turkey’ and under this the subheading ‘Ergenekon’ [1.]
These protesters have rocked the ruling AKP’s claim to legitimacy in several days of robust demonstrations, bolstered by more recent news that Turkey’s main trade union federation has backed the protests. As of Thursday June 6th 2013 certain facts are becoming more clear.
Only a few years ago Turkey was being hailed as ‘the tiger of the Middle East’, because of its high GDP growth of between 8.5% and 9.5 percent in the preceding years. The realities of the European banking crises and the retarding economic growth in the west however did finally take a toll on Turkey, reducing this growth to 3% in 2012 and practically no growth since the start of 2013. With unemployment rising, the reality of the shaky European credit and banking problems are certainly hitting Turkey. This has in turn led to a reduction in credit and spending; all problems specific to neoliberal economics – a proven failed model for society.
In addition the stock market and currency exchange has reacted to the recent public display of no-confidence, with the Borsa losing over 10 points in just one day of trading on June 2. The Lira also weakened in relation to both the Euro and the Dollar.
Adding to this social pressure cooker, the Erdogan government has been guilty of serious curtailments on press freedoms making Turkey today the leading country in incarcerated journalists. A number of these arrests and indefinite detentions relate to the purging of Ergenekon sympathizers and supporters from civil society and the military.
Taken all together, we can see that there is a sober basis to declare the present situation ‘revolutionary’, though we are reluctant at this point to affirm this without provisions.
Utilizing a Syncretic orientation regarding the various schools of ‘International Relations’ as Geopolitics, with a view on history, we find that the geostrategic piece on the grand chess board represented by Turkey has for over two millennia been a significant one. We must incorporate into this a clear-headed approach to the various tactics employed within the broader strategy of the various hegemonic actors.
As detailed in our previous article on Gene Sharp; this element figures in decisively and is probably the best category under which to understand the ‘Tahrir Square in Istanbul’ phenomenon today. We must emphasize that this ‘foreign entity’ tactic does not negate the very real nationalist, traditionalist, communist and socialist yearnings of the broad masses within Turkish society.
The alliances and economic integrationist models that Turkey pursues are the best indicator of the balance of power between the Eastern and Western blocs. When Turkey pulls east, it’s indicative that the Atlanticist west is losing much footing in Eurasia and the Middle East alike, and the lessons here will be touched upon in the last main section of this piece. Before this we will look at the present situation in the first section, as it appears very volatile and promising.
The Center for Syncretic Studies calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners related to the alleged “Sledgehammer Plot” and also all members of Ergenekon, and to commence negotiations related to their restoration to their proper ranks and positions in both the military and civil administration.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with Eurasianist Movement Leader Alexander Dugin to call for the clemency for Worker’s Party comrade Doğu Perinçek and demand his immediate release.
Springtime for Erdogan and Sharp Thinking:
While it is clear that the present Turkish showdown has the potential to evolve into a pre-revolutionary situation, it is also evident that the Erdogan AKP is being hit with a complex foreign backed ‘attack’. The Sharp-Alinsky (Glasnost/Otpor!/Color Revolution/Arab Spring/Occupy) tactic is this time being applied by both NATO through it’s NGO’s but also by it’s opponent, Eurasianist Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Russia’s Eurasian Union through Russian backed NGO’s operating in Turkey . This idea alone requires some contemplation, for it is often entirely unrealized that competing geostrategic blocks can simultaneously organize around the same activity in order to produce the same action but with divergent desired goals.
Some have perhaps rightly called this a ‘revolution’, and while it would be entirely foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of this, there are some other just as likely scenarios which also explain all of the facts on the ground as they exist and are understood. Nevertheless, these events should be understood as a revolution of sorts – a revolution in the discourse and the general focus of both internal and external regional activity. It represents a milemarker and ‘game changing’ event as broader geostrategic and geopolitical matters continue to unfold. However, whether this will be a revolution in the traditional sense of the word: the shattering of state power and the ascension of a new vanguard operating on new principles and mandates, remains to be seen.
For the AKP still has some cards to play and Erdogan has demonstrated over most of his career that he is essentially a skilled realist statesman and pragmatist of the Machiavellian sort. Erdogan also has demonstrated that he is a consensus builder and does not act too far outside of initiatives based in practical Turkish aims as understood through the AKP lens. In addition, the foreign actors may not require the overturning of the AKP led government in order to meet the divergent short and long term needs of the involved and competing blocks: Atlanticist and Eurasianist.
This follows a recent series of reports that China is to receive half of the oil now being produced in fractured Iraq. This represents a partial failure on some key points of the US misadventure in Iraq. Along with this deal with the US, China and Russia are continuing to work together on the ‘Asian’ side of the Eurasian project. This is an important development, and coincides with many internal contradictions within Turkish society along with competing visions regardings it future in the years to come. Meanwhile the Russians also continue to build the Eurasian vision into a reality in Eastern Europe, and to a lesser but no less important extent, in the Balkans.
People who have correctly understood the situation in the ‘Arab Spring’ phenomenon in Syria and before that in Egypt and Libya as being goosed along by foreign powers in the west, are hopefully for purely propaganda reasons, feeding into the vulgar and simplified ‘people vs. unpopular ruler’ Sharpist discourse in regards to Turkey. Certainly the ruling AKP’s main man Erdogan has provoked the disgust of many good people around the world and within Turkey.
Within Turkey this is especially so among the Alevi sect representing 1/5th of all Turks. Among them, and additionally outside of this sect, is the core of both Kemalist, neo-Nationalist, and Communist/Socialist forces including the TKP and others.
After experiencing initial broad support from forging a somewhat inclusive coalition in the last election, which saw the AKP receive about 50% of the vote, Erdogan has shown his real intentions with his willingness to push the destabilization of Syria only to serve the immediate and short term interests of a small and decadent elite section of Turkish society, and the real long term benefit of the Atlanticist power complex.
Most important for the region is to see that this includes the malignant tumor in the Levant which is the Zionist supremacist apartheid state of Israel. To wit, the present open revolt is indeed a result of Erdogan´s unpopular policies towards Syria. After the US and Israel, Turkey is currently the primary supporter of terrorist groups that fight in Syria. US and Israeli backed terrorists receive arms, funding, logistic support, medical aid, and permission to move across the Turkish territory and to cross the border to Syria.
Turks also by in large oppose to the government´s alignment with the US. A recent poll suggests that only one-quarter of the Turkish population backs the AKP’s policy of arming the terrorists fighting to destroy Syrian civilization.
This problem goes back a bit. Turkey has since the end of WWII been an ally of NATO and opposed to the Eurasian initiative of the USSR and excepting a short reprieve (under the Oligarch puppet Yeltsin’s Vodkacracy), the revived Russian Federation and Eurasian Union. While Turkey has experienced significant economic growth and integration into the western economic sphere, it has also been conditioned to perform the difficult regional tasks of subverting the Pan-Arabist (Arab Nationalist, Arab Socialist) movement which caught like wildfire in the last 75 years of the 20th century. It has had to do this while making constant deflections and excuses for its extremely unpopular alliance with unofficial lead NATO member-state Israel and Israel’s ‘kid sister’ Saudi Arabia.
The Turkish organism has started to have a biological histamine reaction to this prolonged irritation of its immune system. This has caused Turkey to begin to take actions more resembling a Non-Aligned Movement nation than a solid NATO member-state.
This hypothesis is corroborated by Turkey’s new observer member status in the SCO, announced just this last April . This alone signifies the AKP’s ability to engage in complex and long term strategic planning. This act by itself should communicate to any competent analyst that Turkey is essentially using its own regional hegemonic status to force Brussels to improve its relationship with Ankara and/or for the SCO nations to increase their influence and assistance to the ‘caught in the middle’ state of Turkey.
Propagandistic memes relating to AKP incompetence and Erdogan’s short-sightedness – which serve a specific and important purpose – should not take the place of a deep-politics and serious policy oriented approach to the Turkish reality and future.
This involves understanding the ‘deep-state’ approach of the beleaguered but still promising Ergenekon umbrella organization; a group which could soon resemble Hezbollah in Lebanon today or the Decembrist-Bolshevik front almost one-hundred years ago in Russia, if certain other mitigating conditions are met.
The Turkish Lira’s relationship to the Euro is also reflective of this shift in tactics along its strategic course. Seeing the potential collapse of the entire EU project, Turkey is hedging its bets on EU ascension by playing both sides (Atlantic/Eurasian) against the middle. This act alone, however, weakens the Euro’s speculative value and creates a potentially self-fulfilling prophecy for the unbalanced European economy.
The Atlanticist would like to use the threats from it’s constituent groups including Islamists and also agents within the financial sector and the military to push Turkey to increase the pressure on Syria, pushing it to prematurely and chaotically resolve the Kurdish question and weaken Syria without extending Turkey’s own territorial domain in the Levant.
The Atlanticists would also like to see Erdogan use the machinery of the Turkish state’s power to push forward the interests of the soon-to-fail state of Israel. The Atlanticists in Turkey would essentially be threatening to use a combination of Al-Qaeda style terrorist attacks to unravel the public sense of safety, as well as the use of interpenetrated developmental and humanitarian oriented NGO’s  to continue the popular protests including the use of agent provocateurs posing as Islamists and Anarchists. These would give reason and cause for a pro-NATO military junta to seize power from the AKP.
The Eurasianists would like to use threats from it’s constituent groups including primarily NGO’s tied to Ergenekon and the Worker’s Party and sympathetic strains among other Communist groups as well as Kemalists and Nationalists to push Turkey to do several things. This includes using its already existing relationship with NATO to leverage in Eurasian and SCO interests, which include the end of the deadly Syrian game it now plays, a move which would have pros and cons. It could also include a complete break with NATO and instead outright alliance with Russia, Iran, and China. It must include the release of all relevant political prisoners including the socialist champion and Worker’s Party leader Doğu Perinçek.
The fact of foreign intervention from the SCO or Eurasian Union does not mean that the various aims of the various native Turkish opposition forces, including the Kemalists, Communists, Kemalist-Communist, and Alevi are not well rooted in the real injustices and contradictions within Turkey today. In addition there are the unresolved and inadequately addressed matters surrounding the Kurdish question, Armenians, and other identity groups within and next to Turkey today.
Just as a broken clock tells the right time twice a day, only the most base thinking of troglodyte liberal ‘activists’ understand in their own limited way that what is happening in Turkey is also an ‘Arab Spring’ type event. What they fail to understand is that Erdogan is partly right when he attributes the manipulation and intrigues of foreign powers to this upsurge of popular discontent.
A Humble Recommendation to our Worker’s Party Comrades:
The Worker’s Party line that all imperialist interventionism must end before the resolution of the various historical and national questions involving Turkey can occur is absolutely right. It would be putting the cart before the horse for Turkey to resolve this first. Only then can there be a further development on the matter of Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, and Kurdistan.
The Center for Syncretic Studies would must humbly advise the Worker’s Party to develop a mutually beneficial approach to those sensitive and deal-breaking matters of yesterday and today. If Turkey is to gravitate into the Eurasian camp, it must do so in a way which would also be amicable to and respectful of the histories and realities of Balkans and Greek people to the west, and Armenian and Kurdish people to the east. It must be done so in a manner which would not jeopardize Turkey’s and Russia’s relationships with those great peoples, and does not reflect ‘Great Power Chauvinism’. Working together to create an anti-materialist, anti-Atlanticist, anti-Capitalist and multi-polar world, there are many glories to be had and to be shared.
A Textbook Example of Geopolitics and Geostrategy:
We would like to help to expand our reader’s conceptual framework for understanding these events, by first giving a short and incomplete list of working axiomatic truths which relate to the Turkish phenomenon. Then we will broadly generalize the Turkish geostrategic position and tendencies, specifically in relation to Russia and Eurasia in history and also today.
A short list of the Working Axioms pertaining to Turkey today:
There are several common misperceptions which are propagated in the memetic war among various analysts and commentators. Being unable to detail them all, in the interests of succintity, will give a short list and description of some of them which pertain to the Turkish situation specifically.
The first misconception is that political events which take place within a country are entirely a reflection of a country’s internal machinations and contradictions, with a vague connection to the world economy. The inverse mistake is to think that political events are entirely orchestrated by conspiracies of hostile foreign powers, which act unilaterally upon internal actors. In reality, they are often a combination of both, and in the vast majority of times there is no absolutely assured outcome: only a series possible outcomes which must be accounted for and planned around, similar to a hypothetical six or seven way game of chess. There are too many unquantifiable variables operating simultaneously to make broad and qualitative pronouncements of fact.
The second is related to the above: when it’s correctly understood that there is a combination of internal and foreign activity producing the outcome, too often incorrectly ‘one’ foreign actor and ‘one’ internal coalition or front is ascribed to said activity. The reality is that more than one foreign actor and more than one front can act in multivariate manner, producing an intricate and simultaneously interwoven and yet incompatible political outcome. In addition, the state power which is the focus of the attack can out maneuver its internal and external opponents. Both Obama and Putin were successful at infiltrating and derailing the ‘Occupy’ attempts which at first threatened to delegitimize their respective administrations.
The third follows from the second: when in analyzing Sharpist maneuvers and it’s correctly understood that the combination of internal and foreign activity produce a complex and multivariate field of potentialities, it is often misunderstood that the desired outcome is the overthrow of the government; in Sharpist terms ‘the regime’. The reality is that foreign actors understand the difference between ‘Discipline’ and ‘Punishment’, a concept detailed in both Nietzschean and Foucauldian discourse. Discipline is not punishment, and the disciplinary tactic of activating various cells to conduct mass scale agitation is not necessarily meant to punish, i.e, destroy ‘the regime’. Rather it is to correct its actions and alter its orientation. Disciplinary actions also act as bargaining chips. Naturally then, carrots must accompany these sticks as well. Discipline and punishment appear very similar, and only an analysis of the machinations behind the veil can determine which tactic is really being employed.
The General Historical Trajectory of the Turkish Position in Regards to Russia:
Historically when Turkey as the Ottomans competed with Byzantine Greece and Russia as the embodiment of the Center of the Eurasian sphere, it resulted in the destruction and conquest of the Greeks and Balkan sphere under Ottoman tutelage, and pushed Russia into the position of bargaining for the West, and this was not without significant friction between the Roman-Catholic and Byzantine-Orthodox realms. Russia then acted as a bulwark against Ottoman pushes westward, and in addition played the role of guarantor of the European monarchies in relation to the often times chaotic ramifications of the renaissance, black death plague, and later reformation and counter-reformation, including the class war in Europe.
Finally several centuries later, this ended with the European alignment with the Ottomans against Russia. At the same time England was compelled to ally with Russia in regards to deconstructing Ottomanism in the Balkans and Greece, while preparing to fight the very same Russia in the Crimean and Central Asia. In general, we can see that when Turkey pulls the center towards the east, Russia must broker, though also in its own interests, for a center pulling towards the west.
Conversely, when Turkey pulls west, Russia is left in a difficult situation which pulls it east. When Turkey pulls west as it does now, it places Russia in a situation that is both opportune and comprising. In this situation, generally reflective of the present state of affairs, Russia must represent the east to the west.
This is not a black and white matter, and the reality is certainly more nuanced than this generalization. It is also true that in recent decades, China has emerged as the East power which is conducive to positive Russia relations insofar as Russia is being pulled east by Turkey’s westward trajectory. Turkey cannot play a leading role in western affairs, but can secure its place among it’s second class powers or as a regional hegemonic broker of east-west relations. It is geopolitically unnatural for Turkey to orient west, and generally unstable, for historically it places Russia in an eastward trajectory. Both of these are at odds with both countries historical and cultural orientation.
In short and though imperfectly, we can generalize and say that when Turkey goes east, Russia goes west, and vice-versa. This trend has been visible from about 1300 onward, from the period following the 4th Crusade through the Crimean War, the Great Game, both world wars in the 20th century with a special focus on the Truman Doctrine after WWII, and the through the Cold War. The Cold War arrangement being the primary basis of the present situation as NATO and EU connections to Turkey were built up in this most recent context.
A Changing World: The Possibility of Multipolarity:
This is not a cycle destined for repetition. The development of the productive forces of industry, transport, and communication have changed the world of consciousness and of relative physical and material distance. It has changed the goals and relevance of resource acquisition, and have turned hostile spaces into potential ‘big spheres’ of cooperation. By in large, the historical forces which placed Turkey and Russia at odds are dissipating day by day. In addition, the western European little sphere has been occupied by a decaying ideological and material reality. The ‘liberalism’ of the Atlanticist thalassocracy has metastasized into a malignant tumor of world consuming proportions. In practical geostrategic and geopolitical terms, there is little incentive either spiritually or economically for Turkey to continue its romance with the Atlanticist NATO powered thalassocracy.
If Turkey could shore up the center east with Russia shoring up the center at the same time, with China as a primary motor force of Eastern Eurasia, it can also pull Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the eastern Mediterranean with it. This obviously would be a fundamental game changer and could even foreseeably be the final blow to the Atlanticists. It would then lay upon the historical table the amicable redivision of world spheres with post-national China, India, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and western Europe being among the primary regions of focus on a multi-polar Eurasian landmass.
The Meeting of “The Eurasia” party leaders and the leaders of “The Worker’s Party” of Turkey
There was the meeting of the manager of the Secretariat of “The Eurasia” party Pavel Zarifullin with one of the leaders of “The Worker’s Party” of Turkey Dashar Karadag and the president of the Moscow bureau Mehmet Bora Perinchek. The meeting turned into a long consultation about coordination of “The Eurasia” and “The Worker’s Party” s positions on a great number of problems. The points of cooperation were founded practically in all themes.
The document clearly indicates that some groups of nongovernmental organizations in Turkey explicitly or implicitly show that some group of people under the umbrella of political parties or NGOs actively engage strategic thinking to turn Turkey’s face to Eurasia and not to the West.
Strategic shift: Turkey joins the China, Russia led Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. ‘This is really a historic day for us,’ Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty after signing a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev. ‘Now, with this choice, Turkey is declaring that our destiny is the same as the destiny of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries’.
“The following is an illustrative list of democracy and human rights organizations working in Turkey to promote social justice; freedom of expression; legal reforms, economic, and political reforms; and to encourage the participation of marginalized groups.This list is not intended to be a comprehensive compilation of organizations working in Turkey.”