Kemal Okuyan: “The Turkish Communists have no positive expectations for the presidential election”
In an interview with the Republican Information Agency “Dagestan”, Kemal Okuyan, the Secretary General of Turkish Communist Party, speaks about how the Communists of Turkey see the present and future of the country.
– Comrade Okuyan, Erdogan’s main rival for president has begun curtseying toward the West and NATO. How do the Turkish Communists treat this?
– The fact that the Republican People’s Party (RPP), led by Kemal Kilichdaroglu, is pro-EU and pro-NATO oriented is not something new for the Turkish public and the Turkish Communists. The RPP, the founding party of the Republic of Turkey, one of the oldest political parties in the country, has over the years completely abandoned its founding philosophy and took a position in favor of the imperialist world order – in line with the natural needs of capital power. The RPP is responsible for including Turkey into the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, as well as for the full integration of Turkey with the NATO.
Moreover, it would be unthinkable for the bourgeois parties engaged in politics in a NATO member country to oppose NATO. People here forget that NATO is not an organization that serves only the interests of American imperialism. NATO is a terrorist organization created to threaten and suppress the working-class movement against the growing influence of the Soviet Union throughout the world. It serves the interests of not only Western imperialism, but the capitalist class as a whole. Whichever party comes to power in Turkey in present days, if it does not oppose this system, it will be a pro-NATO oriented one.
– But the Communist Party of Turkey (CPT) bet on Kemal Kilichdaroglu. What is the logic behind this choice?
– The CPT’s call to vote for Kilichdaroglu on May 14 has nothing to do with any positive expectation for the country’s future from Kilichdaroglu or the National Alliance. When our party decides how to position itself in the presidential election, it does not ask which candidate, each supported by bourgeois parties, will further strengthen capitalist Turkey and develop revolutionary consciousness in the country. I think our people need to get rid of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) that has ruled on for 20 years. The people are longing for change, so we – communists need to remove the obstacle that stands in the way of the people’s struggle. That is why we say: “One vote against Erdogan, one vote for the CPT.
– Over the past decade, Turkey has become an “inconvenient player” in foreign policy. Has standing up for national interests brought visible benefit to the Turkish people?
– Over the years, Erdogan has learned to exploit the internal contradictions, weaknesses and insecurities of imperialism. By playing on these contradictions, he opened up space for himself in the international arena. In this foreign policy approach, however, the source of motivation in decision-making is not the national interest, but the interest of the capitalist class.
The Turkish capital class benefited the most from the JDP’s characterless, unprincipled and volatile foreign policy. Turkish capital opened up huge areas for investment, which it could not get until now and gradually increased the volume of its trade. While all this was going on, the JDP government sometimes pretended to challenge the imperialist system, but it always knew its limits and how to return to the position of a compliant partner in the most critical moments.
– Can the victory of an opposition candidate radically change Turkey’s foreign policy?
– We believe that the gap between the room for maneuver made by the JDP ‘s pragmatism and the opposition’s full-fledged pro-NATO stance is not as wide as it seems.
There is a lot of overlap between the two main camps of bourgeois politics in Turkey. Davutoglu and Babacan, the architects of JDP’s foreign and economic policy, are now the leaders of the two parties in the People’s Alliance. If Kilichdaroglu is elected, they will continue to shape policy in these areas as vice presidents.
You see, as soon as Kilichdaroglu and the National Alliance begin to become a real alternative to the government, Kilichdaroglu’s contacts with other countries in the imperialist system diversifies. And let us not forget that regardless of whether Kilichdaroglu or Erdogan is elected, Turkey will remain a member of NATO. NATO’s interests in the region will form the basis of the regional policy of the new government to be elected. Finally, it is important to note that Erdogan has started a new rapprochement with the United States as the election approaches.
– But if both approaches by government and opposition are futile ones, is there any other way?
– We do not consider capitalist class with stronger imperialist ambitions as a guarantee of the country’s independence. On the contrary, we say that a deepening relationship with the various actors of the imperialist system is returning to our working class in the increased form of exploitation, inequality and dependency.
As I said before, the CPT has no hope for the current government or the opposition. This irrational social order in which we live already makes our country more and more fragile and vulnerable to foreign intervention by the day. We have no doubt that this harmful policy will further be exponentially developed under the government of National Alliance.
The only way to ensure real peace in the region is to break the imperialist chain and restore Turkey as an equal and independent country.
To make Turkey truly stronger one needs to rebuild country with a planned and etatist model of development and an egalitarian and secular social order. In this system, there must be no place for dependency or NATO. No one except the communists can rebuild Turkey on such a basis.