The Roots of the AKP
The AKP, as we know, was born from the ‘Milli Görüs’ movement led by Necmettin Erbakan. People in Turkey appreciated Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his friends partly for this reason. The social democrat, nationalist and liberal coalition, which was led by Bülent Ecevit, who served as prime minister of Turkey in 1974, 1977, 1978–79, and 1999–2002, had failed while the revolutionary left did not move towards gaining legal power. It is this vacuum that paved the way for the AKP government to grow. With statements like ‘We respect everyone’s lifestyle’, they created great expectations inside and outside the country. In fact, they drew a picture that nearly made them a member of the Socialist International. For years, their rhetoric and politics did create some rays of hope in Kurdish society.
The AKP administration has turned into a severely pragmatic, acquisitive and duplicitous regime. For most people, they have disguised their true intentions. Erdogan’s initial and weak steps in the administration grew in power by intentionally bypassing his friends and partners, pushing them to the sidelines. Whoever he allied with was later ditched. And this process was not done smoothly. On the contrary, previous partners were ignored and left completely destroyed. He started with Erbakan, whom he referred to as ‘my teacher’, and kept on for a long time with Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and political figure. He is the founder of the Gülen Movement, and the inspirational figure for the organization. He is the man Turkey’s president blames for the coup attempt in July 2016. Yet in reality, he is a former ally of Erdogan.
Today it is the Tayyip Erdogan-Devlet Bahceli alliance which has come into being. Bahceli is a Turkish extreme nationalist politician who has been the chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) since July 1997. He served as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government of Bülent Ecevit (1999–2002). It remains uncertain as to how and for how long this fascist-nationalist alliance will last. However, it is obvious that both of them have approached this alliance while being in political regression and not progression. Both of them need this alliance to hold out against the power sources behind the Gülen Movement and their supporters. This is why they have set their minds to implementing fascistic and annihilationist policies against the Kurds. Employing all means of power invested in the state, they have mounted a frontal attack on the Kurdish population, while mobs of gangsters are being increasingly mobilised. Their aim was to make use of the referendum of 16 April 2017 to consolidate their authoritarian rule.
It is with this motivation that they massacred hundreds of Kurds in Cizîrê, Sur and other towns. Since the summer of 2015, they executed, lynched and burned alive hundreds of Kurds. Tens of thousands of people were imprisoned, hundreds of thousands displaced when they started to carry out the same policies they had implemented during the 90s. They are eager to continue with similar assaults on Kurdish villages and districts. They aimed to eliminate any space for political activity in favour of a ‘No’ vote in the referendum by imprisoning all democratic individuals and political activists. They are intimidating people and making it impossible for them to vote. Through military assaults and police operations, they intended to hijack the referendum, creating an atmosphere susceptible to fraud.
First and foremost, the fascistic terror state run by the AKP-MHP is nothing new. Even more aggressive methods were adopted between 1991 and 1994, but the Kurdish Freedom Movement did not retreat. For this reason, the Erdogan-Bahceli gang will not succeed in doing what the Çiller-Gures-Agar clique failed to achieve. During the Ciller administration, Gures was the Chief of General Staff and Mehmet Agar was the Minister of Internal Affairs. This clique implemented the worst plan ever against the Kurds, when 4,000 villages were burned down and millions of Kurds displaced.
Now, today there is a more experienced Kurdish society and more powerful democratic forces. Secondly, there is no power able to save AKP-MHP fascism from paying the price. No matter how much AKP-MHP fascism is begging the US or Russia or taking Barzanî on board, they will not be saved.
Whenever Turkey is about to implement plans of annihilation against the Kurds, they will invite Barzanî with whom to form a miserable alliance. Barzanî will support this in return for securing his own parochial interests. But the fact is that AKP-MHP fascism has come to an end. No matter how much it will plead with the Trump administration, set Barzanî to carry out provoking actions against the Kurdish Freedom Movement, and sabotage the situation in Syria and Iraq, it will not succeed in stopping the Kurds and the democratic forces. A Turkish saying fits this picture very well: ‘the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on’.
However, whilst the Erdogan regime is collapsing, it will make the peoples of Turkey suffer the same fate as a result of its fascist roadmap. Its genocidal policies against the Kurds are set to close all the roads ahead of Turkey, bringing the country to the verge of collapse. Instead of solving the Kurdish question democratically, and consequently becoming the freest and the most liveable country in the Middle East, their fascist genocidal hostility against the Kurdish nation has turned Turkey into a dark and violent country, a country that people escape from.
AKP has exceeded its limits
The AKP government in Turkey is at odds with both the US and the global capitalist bloc. The underlying reason for this is to be found in its phobic approach towards the Kurds and in particular the Kurdistan Freedom Movement and the Rojava Revolution.
2015 was a year when the global and regional struggle for domination in Syria kept on escalating. On the one side there was the global capitalist bloc, led by the US, and its failing experiment with the Free Syrian Army, which was inspired by a hope to redesign the Middle East. And on the other there was Russia, trying to protect the Syrian Baath regime, and in this way consolidate the status quo, helping its most powerful ally in the region.
In the Middle East, the global hegemonic war has slowly taken on a sectarian shape, which is becoming clearer by the day, adding another level of violence and destruction to the scenario. While the globally supported sectarianism is divided into two blocks, led by the US and Russia respectively, the regional struggle is run by Turkey and Iran. The AKP administration has manoeuvred around global and regional tendencies and by means of this completely taken over the state power in Turkey. In doing this, however, the AKP has exceeded the limits, and, while enjoying the leverage of being a member of NATO, has turned against the interests of the US by becoming the primary source of nutrition for Daesh, Al Qaida and its offshoots in Syria. AKP has reached the point where it is posing a serious threat to the interests of the US in the Middle East.
The PKK Phobia of AKP
That the AKP administration has grown into a disadvantage and even a threat to the US and the global capitalist bloc is undoubtedly related to its politics towards and its phobia of the Kurds, in particular the Kurdistan Freedom Movement and the Rojava Revolution. The phobia regarding the Kurds and the PKK that AKP is suffering from is so extensive that the global powers are having a difficult time endorsing the AKP’s policies. The AKP government has provided all sorts of support to Daesh in return for hostilities against the Kurds, the Rojava Revolution and in particular Kobanî. Consequently, Daesh has benefitted considerably from this support and developed to become the primary power within the Syrian opposition, while the Free Syrian Army, which the US-led bloc and coalition supported against the Syrian regime, has come to an ignominious end. However, the heroic and epic resistance of Kobanî blocked the policies of the AKP; policies that attempted to leave the Kurds without any political and social status in the 21st century and which fuelled radical Islam, including Daesh. When Rojava forces defeated Daesh in the Battle of Kobanî all the plans of the AKP administration and the KDP, its strategic ally in this project, were turned upside down.
The year 2015 was when the victory of Kobanî become the start of the dissolution of the AKP and its Kurdish collaborators, in particular KDP. It was the beginning of their overall defeat. The heroic resistance of Kobanî was not only the beginning of the end for Daesh and all of its supporting powers. It even affected the entire world, becoming a new source of hope for all suppressed and exploited people, a beacon for workers’ freedom and liberation. Just like when World Vietnam Day marked the triumph of the Vietnamese against US domination, so November 1st marked World Kobanî Day.
When global powers started to show an interest in Kobanî, this was not on account of their love of freedom and democracy. In fact, they stood back and watched for weeks, taking a position of “let’s wait and see”. As soon as they realized that Kobanî was not going to fall, they started to lend partial support to this epic resistance, attempting to control it and turn it into their own sphere of interest. It was for pragmatic reasons that they contributed to the victory of Kobanî.
Major Rupture in the AKP in 2015
Following the victory of Kobanî, it became immediately clear that the subsequent defeat of Daesh meant the strategic collapse of AKP with heavy casualties. This victory had its most practical effect on the political balance of forces in North Kurdistan and in Turkey during 2015. The Kobanî victory represented the free human being and the free Kurd, which directly influenced the June 7 elections in the North and in Turkey. Despite the fact that the AKP mobilized all the means at its disposal, and resorted to all kinds of unscrupulous methods, it could not stand in the way of the HDP achieving a victory for all oppressed people. Even the bombing of an HDP rally in Amed, two days before the elections, for which the AKP together with MIT-Daesh was responsible, could not prevent the HDP from passing the 10% electoral threshold. Moreover, the victory of the HDP also meant that the AKP for the first time did not gain a parliamentary majority to form a government. This was a major rupture in the AKP administration.
Neo-Ottoman strategies were now under serious threat. In other words, the Turkish-type presidency, which Erdogan, his family and their dictatorship were so proudly dreaming of, faced major threats. The government wished to usher in a new era where exploitation of state resources by Erdogan and his family would be pursued. Since the election results posed such intolerable threats, AKP and Erdogan launched a military coup, nothing less than that of September 1980, in order to renew the elections. The first step towards this was the bombing of the socialist youth rally in Pirsus (Suruc), which in one way was revenge for the June 7 election defeat. This massacre was indeed an important milestone towards the coup d’état by AKP-Erdogan, which benefited by exploiting the atmosphere against the Kurds in order to set the scene for new elections. In fact, AKP had already during the MGK meeting in 2014 prepared a war against the Kurds. The June 7 election results caused a major rupture in their politics.
Turkey, the Coup Atmosphere and the Ankara Rally
A number of other political groups were eager to take advantage of the coup atmosphere to rerun the elections, since they also were affected and displeased with the situation. Daesh was one of them, since Erdogan’s loss of power meant their loss, too, whereas Erdogan’s increasing power was synonymous with their growing power. The AKP-Daesh alliance went into effect before the November 1 elections, now with intensified strength. On the one hand, the AKP kept on attacking the Kurds, and on the other, it mobilised collaborators along the North-South border, while receiving massive economic support from the KDP. Together they put pressure on the people along the border, demanding that they vote for the AKP at the renewed elections. Within the borders, Daesh was employing all means at its disposal, together with the AKP and the intelligence service, the MIT, leading to the massacre at the Peace Rally in Ankara in October 2015.
In effect, the HDP became paralyzed and unable to do any campaigning. With Merkel’s visit to Turkey during this time, Erdogan’s threatening of the European countries and his expectation of complete consent for all the injustice and violation of the rule-of-law in return for the refugee deal was put into practice. This picture drew the lines during the elections in North Kurdistan and Turkey which brought about the results the AKP wanted. During such a coup by AKP-Erdogan, it remained to figure out any sense of what to do with the ballots or the time following the elections. The junta mentality of the AKP-Erdogan administration was soon to implement policies resembling the massacre of the Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan government. The target was the Kurds and Kurdistan. Because it would be no surprise if the AKP, following its so-called victory during the November 1 elections, would adopt a destructive strategy, which soon played out.
“If negotiations do not succeed, then there will be self-government…”
The time had come to initiate the Democratic Self-administered Kurdistan, which the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan, had declared when he said; ‘If negotiations do not succeed, then there will be self-government…’. In other words, to mount and maintain the revolutionary people’s war. Because there was no longer any foundation for developing democracy through negotiations. For this reason, the declarations of autonomy in Amed, Sur, Cizîrê, Nisêbîn and other towns were perfectly legitimate, albeit delayed and not prepared as wanted. If these towns had not declared autonomous self-defending systems, a basis for deploying the Sri Lanka model in North Kurdistan would have been given to the AKP.
If there had not been resistance in these centres, tens of thousands of people would have been massacred and millions displaced. Plans that became known later confirmed this. Peoples would have been eliminated and a fascist occupation would have been imposed in the streets and cities of Kurdistan once again. Even though so-called liberal democrats were flattering the fascist dictatorship of AKP with statements like: ‘these trenches will be filled, while law and order will be renewed’ and kept on attacking the trenches, which were the symbols of the resistance, the reality was soon exposed. In fact, democratic autonomy has now turned into an important topic of discussion for the Turkish public. Some of the AKP officials, including Erdogan, even resorted to the previous official attitudes of former prime minister Turgut Özal, who responded to the August 15 rebellion by saying: ‘It’s just a handful of bandits’, and giving the resistance 72 hours to live. This struggle, however, has grown over the course of the last three decades into a movement mobilising millions of people. Likewise, the declaration of autonomy and its honourable resistance sooner or later will be crowned with victory.
The Shooting Down of the Russian plane was not a Coincidence
During the time of the above-mentioned events, a new situation had appeared internationally, regarding the war of resistance in North Kurdistan, when Russia, another hegemonic power in the world, accepted the invitation from the Syrian regime to position itself in Syria. Just when global powers led by the US and Russia were about to reach a consensus during the Vienna meetings, the AKP-Erdogan regime shot down a Russian plane. The timing was not a coincidence, rather, it reflected the discontent that the AKP-Erdogan junta was feeling with this consensus. Here, it is important to consider those who provoked the incident, which is more important than who actually pushed the button.
Obviously, the AKP junta was not the sole idea and force behind this. Erdogan’s attitude afterwards when he apologized for the incident also hinted that he felt tricked and fooled into doing this. Just like when Saddam attacked Kuwait, it was an attempt to strengthen the Sunni bloc or even mobilise it against the Russian intervention, which was gaining power. Following the shooting down, Russia entered Syria and even placed its most powerful missiles, the S300 and S400, on Syrian soil. This changed the political conjuncture completely. Now a new phase opened in Syria, where Russia appeared with a more powerful position. Of course, had it been utilized sufficiently, in particular in the diplomatic area, it would have provided great opportunities and potential for the Rojava Revolution and the Kurdistan Freedom Movement in general.
In North Kurdistan, there is no way back anymore
Once again, light has been shed upon the true intentions of the Turkish state, when its assaults against the Kurdish movement and its representatives, and massacres against civilians in towns are taken into consideration. The AKP-MHP alliance, which is responsible for the destruction in Kurdish cities (Sur, Nisêbîn, Cizîrê, Silopî etc.) and the massacre of hundreds of civilians who were burnt to death, has now imprisoned co-chairs and parliamentarians of the HDP, which represents more than 6 million voters. Municipalities governed by politicians elected by the Kurdish people were seized and the Kurdish will has been negated. Their aim is to conclude their assaults by endorsing a new and unprecedented constitution, which will pave the way for a one-man dictatorship. They regard the Kurdish people and their struggle as the prime hindrance towards making their dreams come true. Hence the aggressive assaults and the violations of all ethical and human norms. As a consequence, there is obviously no way back from this violent situation; what the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Ocalan defined as the ‘last war’.
It is important to stress that the probability for experiencing unreplaceable losses and pain in Kurdistan has never been this high. When Ocalan refers to the Palestinian situation against Israel, one reads the necessity to organize our lives according to the war and fulfil the prerequisites toward this. The prime revolutionary attitude that will frame the coming times is to resist the AKP’s and its collaborators’ plans and attacks. The AKP is in regression and its position as the ‘sick man’ reflects how it is exposed, both internationally and internally. This situation should be utilized in an alliance between the Kurds and democratic forces to benefit from the achievements of the Rojava Revolution and achieve success. The AKP with its supporters and the international friends behind it can no longer resist the people’s struggle for freedom, peace, and a common life.