I am sure that the fund managers in the City of London or New York’s Manhattan or Frankfurt’s financial distrcit are very surprised. They may even be shocked. I am quite sure that many fund managers and bankers who have helped Erdogan's government stay in power for so many years by channelling their hot money to Istanbul’s stock market are now calling their brokers in İItanbul.
They are saying: “But why? Why? it makes no sense to me! Turkey was growing at the fastest rates in Europe and even in the world. The stock market was rising, we were making good money as investors, there was political stability and everything was fine! So what happened? This is totally absurd!” And the brokers and their counterparts here in Istanbul are answering back with the following lines: “well, the government's redevelopment plan of a city park in central Istanbul to turn it into a shopping mall and residencial area, together with the new ban on alcohol sales during night hours and blah, blah, blah …” They are answering in this way and giving these explanations because this is the only thing they can see with their narrow eyes and biased way of thinking…
In fact, what we see in Turkey and especially in Istanbul is a mass movement, it is a mass revolt … What I saw when I walked among the protestors in some areas of Istanbul was the following: they were around the age of 18-25 mostly, educated, mostly students and some of them young workers, and their anger was directed against the authoritarian rule of the government of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They were mostly secular although there were tiny islamist groups among them who were calling themselves “anti-capitalist muslims”… In addition to the protests in all major cities of Turkey and violent clashes with the riot police, there is a grass roots movement in Turkey that is going on currently. At 9 pm every evening people take to the streets with their pans and pots and spoons and maybe in their balconies, they are making a noise to show solidarity and support for the protest movements all around the country. These people are not only students or activists, you see older women and men of 60 or 70. So it is combination of all age groups that I see here in Turkey participating in the movement.
The movement that has erupted in Turkey for the past couple of days is actually the result of the authoritarian style of the prime minister. But the important thing is the following: he is authoritarian to only the students, workers and to those who are oppressed. In fact, whatever he does is to the benefit of the bosses, the big industrialists and big banks and international funds etc. So the prime minister of Turkey has a very clear class identity. He is serving the interests of big business, local and international. Although he says that he is representing the interests of the nation, by nation he understands those who vote for him. For him “the nation” means big business.
In my opinion these protests can continue for a few more days but the point is that there is one element missing from the equation. In order for these protests to be effective, we should see immediate involvement of the working class in the movement. While I was writing these lines, I read in the media that one trade union confederation called KESK (conferederation of public workers trade unions) declared that it will go on a strike starting from 12 am tomorrow. But this is not enough. In order to get a meaningful result from these events that are unfolding in Turkey, we should see the joint declaration of a political general strike in solidarity with these protests from all major trade union confederations. Unless we hear this, do not expect a major development from Turkey. Otherwise, people will continue with their protests, but the result will be of no major significance.