Turkey

This year’s May Day rally in Istanbul was somewhat smaller than last year’s. However, there are growing tensions in Turkish society over such issues as cuts in welfare and pensions and rising unemployment.

On Sunday March 6, Turkish police forces commemorated International Working Women’s Day in their own way – by using truncheons and tear gas on demonstrators. Around one thousand people took part in the gathering organised by revolutionary left groups to mark the International Working Women’s Day, which took place at the Beyazit Square, Istanbul. The demonstrators were then tear-gassed, kicked and beaten by the police. Many people were left injured. There were so many cops and the attack was so sudden that the demonstrators were not able to resist the attack.

In Turkey around 150.000 people joined May Day demonstrations held in many towns up and down the country. As is always the case the central event was in Istanbul. For the first time since 1993 the May Day demonstration in Istanbul was split into two. It was a result of the disagreement between major labour confederations. The demonstration held in Caglayan square, which was organised by the Turk-Iş, the biggest labour confederation, was joined by 15.000 people, while the other demonstration organised by the DISK and KESK in Sarachane was joined by 30.000. In Ankara there were 10.000 people demonstrating, while 15.000 were demonstrating in Izmir, the third biggest city.

On November 20, two explosions devastated the offices of HSBC, a British-based bank, and the British consulate in a busy part of Istanbul. Marxists utterly condemn this brutal and barbarous act of terrorism. It cannot be justified on any political grounds. It does not help the people of Iraq. It does not strike a blow against world imperialism. It will not weaken the Turkish state. On the contrary. It plays directly into the hands of the state and imperialism.

This article was written in the early stages of the present war. Unfortunately for technical reasons its publication was delayed. It gives an interesting perspective as it was written by Marxists in Turkey, a country closely involved in what is unfolding in Iraq.

We received this article a few days ago from a Turkish Marxist, who looks at the reasons behind the failure of Turkey's parliament to pass a motion giving the US the right to move its troops across Turkish territory into Iraq. Now it seems the Turkish government is attempting to get a second motion authorising the US to use Turkish air space to bomb Iraq, and this is to be voted on tomorrow.

On March 1, Ankara witnessed two important events. While as a result of the dirty haggles between the government and the US, parliament was negotiating the government petition for a permit to allow US troops on to Turkish soil, there were tens of thousands of workers and youth in the streets of Ankara shouting no to war in Iraq. From Turkish Marxist website Marksist Tutum.

On December 1, 20,000 people took part in an anti-war demo in Istanbul. Although there was a lively and angry mood on some sections of the demo the turnout was rather low compared to previous demonstrations. The trade unions did not help as, although they were officially part of the promoting group, they did very little to mobilise their forces. This, in spite of the fact that an overwhelming majority of 80-90 percent of the population is against the war.

The coming period will be a test for the AKP government. The workers and toilers in general, who voted for the AKP seeing in it a hope for salvation, need to draw important lessons from this coming period of government on the basis of their own experiences. The truth has to be explained and the advanced layers need to be organised. This task falls on the shoulders of revolutionary Marxists.

Turkey's political establishment has been stunned by the landslide election victory of the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party, the AKP. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former mayor of Istanbul who leads the party, won a crushing victory in Sunday's election. None of the parties that went into parliament at the last elections have survived. This dramatic turnaround is an expression of the anger, frustration and disgust of the masses with the corrupt and degenerate bourgeois parties, which have ruled Turkey for the last four years. However their experience of an AKP government will be a bitter lesson for them. This is another bourgeois party that will do nothing for the Turkish...

From a geopolitical point of view Turkey has an important strategic position, not only for imperialism, but also for the world proletarian revolution. Quite significant economic and industrial development has been made particularly since the 60’s and this process has enormously strengthened the proletariat. Of course, in comparison to the big European countries, the basis of Turkish capitalism remains relatively weak and unstable. The rotten and corrupt Turkish bourgeoisie has not been able to solve any of the fundamental problems of society. This article looks at the current situation in Turkey, and the tasks facing Marxists.

This a report from Turkey on the May Day celebrations. Despite intimidation from the state, and the fact that May 1 was a working day, the demonstrations in many cities were larger than in previous years.