6th IMCWP, Contribution of Communist Party of Turkey

10/8/04 12:45 PM
  • Turkey, Communist Party of Turkey 6th IMCWP En Asia Europe Communist and workers' parties

Athens Meeting 8-10 October 2004, Contribution of CP of
From: SolidNet, Tuesday, October 19, 2004
http://www.tkp.org.tr , mailto:int@tkp.org.tr
International Meeting Communist and Workers' Parties

"Resistance to Imperialist Aggressiveness. Fronts of
Struggle and Alternatives"
8 10 October 2004, Athens
Contribution of Communist Party of Turkey

Alliances, nationalism and fundamentalism and the EU

Dear comrades, esteemed representatives of Communist Party
of Greece,

First of all, I would like to point out that it is very
appropriate to organize this meeting in Athens that will
focus on the resistance against imperialist aggression.
Throughout her history, especially in the recent period
which began with the ominous war waged to demolish
Yugoslavia, the Communist Party of Greece never gave up her
struggle against imperialism. Here, I want to underline the
word "imperialism". What we are talking about is a
constituent and decisive struggle against imperialism
without any excuses, without making any exceptions for any
imperialist power or institution. A struggle that includes
US, NATO and EU...

To speak candidly, the communists who struggle in our
region encountered an even more complicated and expansive
anti-imperialist agenda after the collapse of the Soviet
Union or in other words, the prevail of the
counter-revolution in the Central and East Europe. Not only
did the Balkans and the Middle East attract attention as
the region on which the imperialist aggression
concentrated, but it also became a region where the complex
social, political and ideological dynamics were triggered.
When we consider the Caucasus, which is constantly pregnant
with unexpected consequences, we are faced by a very
interesting scene.

The communists are under the pressure of the duties of
anti-imperialist struggle. And we know that, this pressure
presents us not only difficulties but also brings us some
serious revolutionary opportunities. What is important here
is that the duties and opportunities of the
anti-imperialist struggle should not retreat the struggle
for socialism or, in other words, it should not alleviate
the policies of the communists which should always be class

We know that it is not very easy to overcome such a
problem. I have just mentioned that the Balkans and the
Middle East constituted of very intricate political and
ideological dynamics. This situation makes the issue of
alliances more sensitive, which is one of the most
important elements of revolutionary politics. The
authenticities, which can be listed as nationalism in the
Balkans and Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, has
brought new theoretical and practical issues of debate to
the communists who struggle in the region.

On this context, I will try to explain briefly the recent
developments in Turkey and the point of view of the
Communist Party of Turkey, which is currently passing
through a process of an annual party conference.

Above, I mentioned the phenomena of nationalism in the
Balkans and Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.
Turkey, with its population of 70 million, is both a
country of Balkans and of the Middle East. Turkey, also
seen as a both European and an Asian country, is a country
where nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism took ground
simultaneously but where both of these
ideological/political dynamics are shaped quite differently
from other countries.

It is obvious that, although it is matter of an ideological
clash, nationalism has somehow a similar basis with
patriotism. In the age of imperialism, the inequalities and
relations of dependence among the capitalist countries on
one hand strengthens nationalism on behalf of the
capitalist class, and on the other hand gives a "patriotic"
feature to the working class. However, we should not forget
that nationalism and patriotism does not have sharp
distinctions in between. This distinction, which is quite
clear for the communists, is not as clear in the minds of
millions of people.

Therefore, the question is, whether in the struggle against
imperialism, can nationalism be a task of alliance.
Communist Party of Turkey responds negatively. As long as
an obvious occupation is not concerned, if a political
collaboration with the nationalist powers takes places, the
working class will not benefit from this.

However, the question can be posed in a different way: Can
the existing nationalist tendencies among the great masses
contribute to the patriotic struggle and the
anti-imperialist resistance? We can reply this question
positively. As a result of attacks coming from
neo-liberalism, the concept of "national interest" and the
reliability of the bourgeois elements who claim to possess
this concept have diminished. For example, in Turkey, the
army, who claims to represent the "national interests" from
the day that the republic was established until today,
started saying that "everything has changed" and calls for
adaptation to "the realities of our age". In this sense,
nationalism finds its bases slipping away and there emerges
a source of energy that the anti-imperialist struggle will
benefit from.

From the aspect of Communist Party of Turkey, it is vital
that this energy should not contravene the class-based
character of the struggle against imperialism. What we saw
this year before and during the NATO summit that was held
in Istanbul, proved that many workers and poor people in
the society, who are influenced by the nationalist
demagogy, could converge on the patriotic and
anti-imperialist struggle and, as more important, could
break free from the anti-communistic conditioning.

Similar questions can be asked concerning the relations
with the Islamic movements. Turkey is an interesting
country. In our country, the nationalist/fascist movement
has always been supported, set on and pulled back by the
state. In this aspect, the social ties of the Islamic
movement are stronger and the Islamic ideology has a more
historical background. Besides, we have concrete evidence
that the Islamic movement has been fortified by the state
and especially by US and German imperialism. Before the end
of the World War II, USA had decided to play the card Islam
in a region where Turkey was also involved. As the workers'
movement prospered, Islamic fundamentalism was used as a
counter-revolutionary force both against the progressive
movement in Turkey and against some republics of the Soviet
Union. In this sense, Islamic fundamentalism did not have
the slightest difference from the nationalist/fascist

So, today, while a severe conflict between USA and some of
his former fundamentalist friends is going on, can this be
regarded as a new alliance for the struggle against
imperialism? Can an alliance be established by the
communists and radical Islamic groups?

It is difficult to answer this question when we consider
the complex structure of the resistance in Iraq. I think
you are all informed about the approach of our party to the
current situation in Iraq. From the beginning, Communist
Party of Turkey has opposed to any kind of intervention in
Iraq and our party acts on the fact that the ongoing
resistance against the occupying powers is one of the most
important elements of our time. It is normal to find
radical Islamic circles or communities among the resistance
and our wish is that the secular wing of the resistance
strengthens. As the communists of the neighbouring country,
we will do our best concerning this issue.

However, the conditions are quite different in Turkey when
compared to Iraq. We find it very dangerous to establish an
alliance or cooperation with the fundamentalists in Turkey.
It is of course important to draw people who are ordinary
believers into our anti-imperialist struggle but it is not
necessary to cooperate with radical Islamic elements to
contact these people. Communist Party of Turkey tries to
lay out the dirty and covered ties of those elements with
imperialist powers and even Israel. It should not be
forgotten that, currently an Islamic party has the power in
Turkey and this party has been more aspirant than the
previous governing parties to hand our country over to US
and to the imperialists of Europe.

Moreover, the practice has shown that the radical Islamic
organizations in Turkey are not so willing to struggle
against imperialism. During the NATO summit, except for one
or two symbolic demonstrations, it was the communists and
revolutionaries who organized the mass mobilization.

All that I have said does not mean that the struggle
against imperialism is solely the task of communists. The
masses, which are for the moment very unfamiliar to the
struggle for socialism, can be drawn to the
anti-imperialist struggle, as we should not let any space
for nationalist and fundamentalist elements on this issue.

There are no alternatives than this approach to the issue
of alliance.

With this approach, Communist Party of Turkey try to
compose a revolutionary project, a revolutionary
perspective considering the peculiar period through which
Turkey goes currently which we believe that will never
reach its final point. The fact that European Union gave
positive signals for Turkey's membership reveals the
decisiveness of Germany to come out as a more assertive and
aggressive imperialist country. Therefore, during the
membership negotiation process, which will last a long,
very long time, Turkey will be an important actor of the
regional projects of imperialists that are organized in EU.
The role that Turkey has played also for USA for years is
quite obvious. In the oncoming period, Turkey will
undertake new military missions in Afghanistan and in the

However, EU and USA is trying to create a more controlled
and "smaller" country out of Turkey, both economically and
politically, to realize these projects. For example neither
of these imperialist powers is concerned with the Kurdish
Question just because they are concerned with the interests
of the poor Kurdish people. The Kurdish Question provides
appropriate circumstances for the imperialists to take
initiative in Turkey. It is the same for some minorities
like the Armenians which were for sure excluded from the
social and political life all through the republican period
and were systematically assimilated. However we have to
know that this and some other similar issues are now used
by the imperialists to control Turkey. Accompanied with a
fragile economy, we can say that Turkey will be exposed to
a constant blackmailing by the imperialists.

Communist Party of Turkey thinks that this process cannot
progress in peace. Firstly, the working masses will not
tolerate more poverty. Secondly, there occurs a serious
dissolution in the basic institutions of the system, even
in the army. When the reaction of the masses is combined
with this dissolution, it is possible that an historical
rupture or a "break" takes place.

In other words, the two important ideological trends in
Turkey that keep the country preserved for the bourgeoisie
that are the nationalism and the religion might not survive
the process of EU membership on one hand and the missions
inside the US plans. TKP will try her best to use the gap
that would come out of this for a revolutionary path.
Before ending, all our friends and comrades might take the
following as a promise: Turkey's full membership to EU,
planned to be realized in fifteen years will probably never
take place. That is what the communists struggle for.

Kemal Okuyan (General Secretary of the CC)