Interview with V.U Arslan: Coup Attempt in 10 Question
1) Which dynamics of dominant class lead to coup?
If we summarize the clashes of the dominant class’ recent history, we could understand the dynamics much better. Firstly, with the capital power of FETÖ and the importance in state mechanism and international connections, FETÖ is a part of dominant class. To be able to not to long the list of the revenge in the dominant class, let us begin with the clearance of Kemalist- Nationalist wing. The partnership of FETÖ- AKP with the support of UN and USA purge the nationalist’s power in state apparatus. The big capital that was disabled historically which supported AKP in the beginning, TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association) in time feel uncomfortable about AKP, in this period it became very ineffective and try to take advantage from Erdogan. Among the big capital, the ones who make trouble to AKP like Dogan Group curbed easily. No one from TUSIAD backed it.
The partnership of Erdogan and FETÖ has broken after getting over the Gezi storm together. After all, if two ride on a horse, one must ride behind. The sect and its leader Gulen would never accept to be in the shadow of AKP. As for Erdogan, with the confidence of the keeping of the mass support, he insisted on his old islamist nationalist National Vision Movement reflex and his own ambition, the problems have come out between Erdogan and USA- UN. Besides, we cannot think the fight between FETÖ and Erdogan. AKP who get over the 17-25 December corruption scandal and local elections, they deal a blow to Gulen sect. The interrelations with West have been at odds more. In this situation, AKP who was not victorious in seventh June elections with another election gained a victory again. It is clearer that FETÖ who faced to total clearance process had no other option except coup. On the other hand, it was not possible an uprising in the army because of the war. Therefore, it is clear that they had to wait and make preparations. In addition, AKP had to wait the end of the operations in Kurdish areas to be able to deal a blow to the army power of FETÖ. That is why, the forthcoming Supreme military council meeting’s judgements shapes the timing of coup.
2) There is a thought that perceives the period as a conflict between TUSIAD, green capital, and a struggle between capitals?
This is a reductive approach in a degree of caricature. The capital periphery related to FETO was known green. Partisan capital of AKP is also green. Then, is green-green war the point in question? Besides when you investigate, you see the most important bosses of MUSIAD are also members of TUSIAD. We know also that the ones who get along well with AKP have laughed all the way to the bank. Besides it is necessary to know that capitalists do not struggle each other on life style, when appropriate just like Şahenk Group, they do not hesitate to approach AKP and be “greener”. Moreover, neither MUSIAD nor TUSIAD have a capacity to exert their authority in such a hard period. In the late capitalist countries, the capitalists are disabled historically that it is possible to see on worldwide that dependence to external powers and symptoms like getting rich with coming from state apparatus.
3) In this case, is Erdogan a power over the classes?
Of course not. AKP promulgated a capitalist and aggressive neoliberal program and be the guardians of imperialism for a long time. However, this cannot be interpreted with such a reductionist view of a simply man of this or that capitalist group. The more Erdogan increase his control on state apparatus and continues his popular support that comes from city poor and petit bourgeoisie, under the skin of a brutal capitalist program, the more he gained self-confidence for acting in a particular freedom.
4) What do you think about the status of USA in the last coup attempt?
If we assume that the real organizer of this coup attempt is FETO , we can’t think that USA was uninformed about this process. In fact, we can be sure that USA will not hesitate to take out a ”Turkish Sisi” against us. On the other hand, it is hard to make out how much role CIA had in preparation and performance of coup.
5) What should be thought about the anti-imperialist emphasizes because of USA having a hand in this coup attempt?
Requests like Shot down the Incirlik Military Base is one of the traditional requests socialists keep saying in this country. Nevertheless, we have to be careful about context and who has the hegemony. Throughout the history, anti-imperialism has been a sensitive subject. Anti-capitalism without anti-imperialism has always been in the service of bigotry. For this reason, today in Turkey, when the raising nationalist and islamist radical right uses this discourse we must be watchful. Discourses as shut down the Incirlik base will not be abandoned, but we must choose the context and timing.
6) What will happen to the intercourse with USA? Will USA remand Gulen?
The topic of remanding Gulen will be a real determinant about the intercourse between Turkey and USA. It is quite uneasy for USA to remand Gulen because Gulen knows too much and there is no guarantee what he is going to tell, or whether the things he says will be infiltrated to public or not. The process can be protract and it can be awaited for him to die naturally or other ways. Gulen issue will continue to be topic of monkey businesses and messy bargains. Erdogan has a trump against USA as approaching to Russia. Russia and Iran are already willing to jump on this possibility. Even if the tension continues, neither Erdogan nor USA would want to break bridges. We can expect the continuation of controlled tension, bargains and tricks.
7) There are people who say that left should have been in streets the night of coup attempt?
It would mean confusion of everything to expect that left to be streets with the ones who is well organized, directed from municipal authorities of AKP and prepared mass who says Allahuakbar. The ones who say left should have been in streets do not know that street actions was in the control of far right or they pretend as if they don’t know.
8) What is the urgent duty of Socialists?
Socialists has risen the discourse of neither military coup, nor palace coup both at night when coup attempt happened and after. Now, we need to raise the fight against the pressure on the democratic rights with fait accompli. Saying no to the dictate, state of emergency and system of exploitation should be the motto for this period. In this period, it is important to be together and organize activities and campaigns. It will only be possible with this way to break pessimism of the masses and improve the alternative of united struggle.
9) What do you think about the Taksim Rally which CHP called and argued in Socialist Left? Actually, this issue is about infertility of Socialist Left. Unfortunately, sectarianism is very common disease in Turkey. You would not join the meeting if it would serve the atmosphere of national consensus with AKP but if there is an anti- AKP content and particularly struggle atmosphere, you can go with your own flag, broadcast, you can say your word. In fact, so many people can be gained to socialism from the base of CHP. You try to organize them. In such a period, it is useless, meaningless to isolates oneself, and unfortunately, it does nobody any good. Was there any different mentality in DISK and TURK-IS meetings we went for years?
10) Is left target? Many people slip into a mood of pessimism.
We face to face reality. Erdogan won a very huge victory inside. Yet, he is still weak outside. That means the tension in the state apparatus keeps. Right now, the main target is sect and the ones that bound it. Yet, the important thing for us is the taking back of democratic rights. Today, to criticize Erdogan openly needs bravery. We observe the meeting and demonstration rights are limited. The information is that among the suspended public officers, there are many laborers members of KESK. (Public official’s union, red one).
On the other hand, the rulership tried to gather the mass was weak in spite of mobilized state opportunity, free transportation and food, the messages of Erdogan sent to cell phones, the calls from TVs, mosques and the municipalities of AKP make the participation obligatory. It is sure that they felt down. On the other hand, we gathered the masses in spite of the police attacks, plastic bullets and tear gas. Billions of people is angry to the one man regime and drastically desire changes. If we can organize a little piece of these billions, AKP would be destructed and laborers would upraise.
We need to carry into effect a systematic and insistent work. I would like to mention one more point: The base of AKP mostly laborers. These people are in those squares as the captives of the polarization of identities and cultures in the country. On the other hand, these people hear you and sympathies when you talk about exploitation. Unfortunately, it is done so rarely… In the society, the try to contact with laborers and organizing is quite rare. We should manage that real issue.
Çeviri: Bahar İmla