People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 5

February 15, 2009


Communist Party of Turkey Holds Ninth Congress

Avtar Sadiq

The Ninth Congress of Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) took place on January 31 and February 1, 2009 in Istanbul, in which 367 delegates from all over the country participated along with 34 international delegates representing the communists and worker’s parties of 24 countries. Avtar Sadiq represented the CPI(M) in this Congress.

The secretary general of the TKP, Kemal Okuyan in his introductory speech highlighted an incident regarding the behaviour of Turkish prime minister Erdogan, who participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) on January 30, 2009 to discuss Turkish politics and regional affairs, especially the situation of Gaza and Middle East. The participants, who differed with his perspective in the region interrupted his speech and he ultimately left the panel in anger and in a hypocritical manner. Kemal stated that the show in Davos was devised for the entrance of “New-Ottomanism” to the US “grand ” Greater Middle East Project.

Under the doctrine of “New – Ottomanism” the government of Turkey intends to transform the secular and democratic republic of Turkey into an Islamic state. Turkey has proved itself incapable of providing better living conditions to Kurdish people and has pinned its hopes upon the policy of alliance with the Kurdish rulers in Iraq. It hopes that this alliance will provide it economic and military access to Iraq based on market and religion. This alliance does not recognise the concepts of secularism, nation state or sovereignty.

Since the inception of Turkish republic, rulers have been acting for the interests of imperialists. Presently in the Middle East, the US cannot proceed just with Israel. All those countries that get on well with US and Israel have lost their face by supporting the barbaric crimes committed both by the US and Israel in the region, especially in Gaza. They need a new actor to open dialogue with Hamas to resolve the conflict. The current developments point out that they would be using Turkey as agent.

The Republic of Turkey was admitted to the capitalist/imperialist system as a dependent and underdeveloped member, only on condition that she pursue imperialist driven economic policies and oppose the Soviet Union. The new dominant class avoided secularism and utilized reactionary religious forces as very important means to push people towards destitution. When the working class and the Left had begun to rise, the religious reactionary forces with their anti-communist and anti-revolutionary characteristics were organised by the state itself, though it claims to be secular.

The TKP adopts the entire history of the working class struggles as well as Marxism and Leninism that took birth in 1920. Since then, the working class and the revolutionary movement of Turkey carried on a dignified struggle. Especially in 1960’s, the working class waged important struggles, organised into trade unions and gained the experience of organising politically. It drew closer to the Left. The patriotic and revolutionary thought found roots among intellectuals and students and strong social movement based on them had emerged. The military coups of 1971 and 1980 tried to confront these struggles. The capitalist class hoped to weaken the growing influence of the Left through these coups. Although these attempts led to heavy losses, the goal to eliminate the communist movement could not be attained.

Nevertheless, the severe damages caused by the military coups, the attacks of bourgeois ideology on socialism in the international sphere, and the collapse of the Soviet Union had a profound effect on the Turkish Left. The TKP had to reconstruct itself in such circumstances and it has gone through various stages of state oppression, since its formation. After 2001, when the name TKP was adopted and Marxism and Leninism were adopted as guide for charting its actions, constant attempts have been made to meet the masses. He concluded his presentation stating that the economic, social, and political problems cannot be solved by any alternative, except socialism.

Mehmat Kueulugil, Central Committee Member presented the draft Political Report on the Crisis Of Capitalism and said, “ Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism has proven true that this system has always been drifted towards crisis since its birth, because it is based on the exploitation of man by man. Over- concentration of capital, the tendency of monopolies to choke everything in their way, the retreat from production and the focus of the capital on making gains through speculation, the instability in the structure of production caused by movement of capital, overloading in the service sector, commoditisation of all aspects of social life and the liquidation of the public space are the basic reasons of the capitalist crisis.” In the imperialist world, the crisis would lead to a rise in more reactionary, authoritarian and militarist policies. It has become clear that the “free market” feeds reactionary, coercive economic policies along with militarism and globalisation and this means rendering national economic policies defenceless against international crises. Such policies would be reflecting differently in imperialist centres and developing countries. It is evident that the aggression of imperialism against labour and against dependent countries will further intensify.

As a result of imperialist crisis, unemployment rate has reached above 20% in real figures and small medium size enterprises are closing down. There is a fall in the wages. Manufacturing is being undermined constantly and privatisation of public utilities is causing severe hardships to the masses. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while pursuing imperialist driven neo-liberal economic policies, is making new sectors available to the Islamist capital. It is trying every method to allocate larger shares to them from the public expenditure. Hence, the objective of the TKP is to wage political, ideological and cultural struggle against monopolies, against capitalism. They are opposed to “bail out of troubled capitalists by public expenditure”. In order to control the class conflict, the police-government is carrying out missives against some intellectuals, journalists, academicians and generals who are generally known as “anti-American”. It is getting rid of high-level bureaucrats that criticise NATO.

The AKP under the mechanism of “social aid” distributes coal and food, public kitchens, aids in cash or goods to the poor and desperate working class. These cannot be looked simply as “bribery” or “investment for elections”. This mechanism is developed to serve their own political and ideological objectives. This “alms system” undermines the social rights that the working class has gained through years of struggle. The Left will have to raise demands for social rights and egalitarian struggle cannot be waged without rejecting this Islamization.

The crisis provides opportunities for TKP to reinforce the social base of the Patriotic Front and transform it into mass movement. In particular it had provided them with an opportunity to build mass organisations and organisation of the working class by the Patriotic Front Workers Union that would not collaborate with the capitalists. For this, the establishment of the political power of the working class, the struggle against imperialism is prerequisite.

Aydemit Guler, president of the TKP highlighted the Programme of the TKP and said, “The historical progress towards socialism, towards a developed communist society is ongoing and humanity will free itself from capitalist barbarism in this century. In 2008, economic crisis of capitalism invigorates the necessary social forces to break down the hegemony of capital through revolutionary attempts. Under these circumstances, either the imperialist- capitalist system will overcome its crisis by declaring the sovereignty of barbarism or working class will start again its glorious march to socialism!”

Under the existing historical circumstances, the TKP envisages that the choice of socialism may quickly become a live issue, a real and urgent alternative. To this direction, it is the duty of the TKP to gain the confidence of the working class to the struggle of socialist revolution. It has become clear in Turkey that the market feeds reaction, coercion and militarism. Socialism is the precondition of deepening secularism in Turkish society and securing economic, social, military and cultural independence, granting equal rights to Kurdish people and establishing a democratic structure.

The AKP government has completely surrendered to imperialism and “New-Ottomanism” and this stance throws serious challenges to the secular, patriotic, democratic and anti-imperialist forces of Turkey. In this context, “ winning the youth” has been one of the important theme of this Congress and to draw them into anti-imperialist struggle with a revolutionary perspective. The TKP has resolved to develop political and ideological tools to lead the working youth for a socialist revolution and the “Assembly of Youth” is the expression of this resolution. It has resolved to prevent the transformation of Turkey into an Islamic country, in conjunction with struggles of the working class. Finally, the President said, “The TKP calls the Left parties and movements, vanguard workers, pro-labour unionists, progressive intellectuals, youth, women and all patriots for collective struggles for the necessity of Socialism, because, imperialism and its collaborators will lead our destiny into profound destruction and barbarism”.

A member of the Central Committee also introduced the Text of Party Rules. Fifty delegates participated in the discussion and stressed upon; the importance of waging struggle against the existence of nuclear weapons, undertaking environmental, drug, health and housing issues. They had urged to utilize the conviction and energy of the young people that can shake the world. They stated that the feeling of “me” and “myself” based on capitalist culture pose danger to the collective struggle and decided to raise the working class consciousness against imperialist wars and crises. They also resolved to expose the aggressive policies of US and EU imperialists, their support to Israel in carrying out massacre in Gaza/Middle East and decided to fight against these vigorously. They also decided to provide Marxist and Leninist education to the cadre, strengthen the Patriotic Front, Assembly of Youth and Working Women fronts.

Some written comments regarding the text of the congress documents were accepted. The congress elected 27 members to the Central Committee, and a Polit Bureau composed of seven members. The delegates elected 85 members to the Council and a new young President who took up the responsibility to lead the Party.

In the evening on February 1, 2009, an impressive rally took place in a huge Concert Hall, which had the capacity to accommodate over 5,000 people. It was fascinating to note that that the packed Hall reflected over 70 per cent presence of the young people, who were waving the red flags of the TKP with slogans against US imperialism and the ruling party AKP. On behalf of the International delegates, Oscar Martinez Cordoves, a member of international department of the Communist Party Of Cuba addressed the rally along with newly elected president and ex- general secretary of the TKP. A prominent group of singers sang revolutionary songs of a Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet and the rally ended with slogans: Down With- US Imperialism; Long Live- TKP and Long Live- Socialism!