From A World To Win News Service

Turkey: "Murderer Erdogan" and the murderous state must be stopped

October 19, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |



12 October 2015. A World to Win News Service. At least 97 people were killed in the October 10 bombing of a political rally against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s refusal to reopen peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and his repression of the opposition. Erdoğan quickly called the massacre a “heinous crime against the unity of our country.”  Since the moment when the explosions took place, his government has used it to further strengthen his regime and the state as the only way to hold the country together in the face of bloody chaos.

Site of the explosion in Ankara, Turkey, October 10, 2015.Site of the explosion in Ankara, Turkey, October 10, 2015. AP photos

The demonstration in Ankara, the country’s capital, was organized by a coalition of leftist and other organizations led by the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) as part of its campaign for the 1 November parliamentary elections. As a large crowd gathered in front of the main train station, first one and then another bomb filled with metal pellets went off about fifty metres apart. Witnesses later recalled that contrary to “normal” police procedures in Turkey, security forces were absent and no one was searched entering the assembly area. Not long after, the police intervened―attacking people trying to carry the injured to safety, firing their guns into the air and shooting rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades. No ambulances arrived for some 30 minutes. Hundreds were wounded, many very seriously. HDP puts the death toll at 128.

Ankara University students at a sit-in protest October 13, holding  placards with the names of those killed in the explosions.

Ankara University students at a sit-in protest October 13, holding placards with the names of those killed in the explosions.

The next day, Turkish police brutally stopped HDP and other activists and family members of victims who wanted to lay flowers on the site of the massacre, again tear gassing and attacking people already mourning a terrible loss. People chanted “Erdoğan murderer, police murderers, state murderer” as they marched later that afternoon in Ankara, Istanbul, Diyarbakir (Turkish Kurdistan), France, Germany and Switzerland.

Initially Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that Daesh (Islamic State), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and PKK itself were suspects in the bombing. This might be seen as a stupidly bad joke, especially since the regime itself has identified HDP with PKK. But the serious implication was that the Kurdish movement had killed its own supporters and broad sympathizers in order to divide Turkey.

Days later, the regime announced that it was focusing its investigation on Daesh, and it rounded up suspected members. But in the hours following the bombings, it seized on the situation to launch airstrikes on PKK positions. Readjusting its previous position of an armed response to the regime’s refusal to negotiate, PKK ordered its fighters to cease engagements and return to their camps for the time being.

The Ankara massacre took place in an increasingly polarized pre-election atmosphere. HDP’s entry into parliament last June denied Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) a majority by drawing votes from previous AKP supporters. Erdoğan found himself unable to put together a parliamentary majority to back proposed constitutional amendments meant to push through AKP’s Islamist programme and tighten the unity of the state. The lack of a governing majority made new elections necessary.

No matter what AKP’s role in the Ankara massacre may have been, what is certain is that Erdoğan’s determination to make himself and the regime the only alternative to bloody chaos was itself a major factor in causing it. AKP has done everything possible to fuel both traditional Turkish (anti-Kurdish) chauvinism and Islamism. Erdoğan seeks to weaken PKK and the Kurdish movement politically as well as militarily, to force it further into the fold of the existing political system.

By portraying this situation as a conflict between a corrupt personal dictatorship and liberal democracy, HDP and other leftist parties are making a grave mistake about the necessity driving the Turkish ruling class and its state. One of the sharpest contradictions is between the AKP’s intensifying drive to Islamize Turkey and support Islamist forces in Syria… on the one hand, and on the other the fact that Islamism has become a big problem for the U.S. and the current imperialist world order. This has led the U.S., never a friend of the Kurds or any other oppressed people, to ally itself with the PKK’s Syrian affiliate PYD in fighting Daesh.

What Humanity Needs

At the beginning of 2012, an in-depth interview with Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, was conducted over a period of several days by A. Brooks, a younger generation revolutionary who has been inspired by the leadership and body of work of Bob Avakian and the new synthesis of communism this has brought forward.

The U.S. is both bothered by the Erdoğan regime and, at least for now, stuck with it. The sudden step-up in U.S. and Russian contention in Syria has made this even clearer. While President Barack Obama’s mouthpieces scold Russia for not attacking Daesh enough, Washington has complained very little publicly about Erdoğan’s policy of concentrating his regime’s attacks on PKK. If after this massacre Erdoğan can convince enough of the Turkish ruling class and people in Turkey that there is no viable alternative to his rule, he may think he can keep playing his double game with the U.S.

HDP is calling on people to respond to the massacre with their votes and continue to press for reform to democratize the state that at the very least created the conditions for this crime to happen. Erdoğan has used peace negotiations and war, elections and open repression in bringing this situation about. The regime has already shown that the state can use its armed power to win votes, while HDP has counted on being allowed to help hold Turkey together, and getting U.S. support in doing that. These goals are no more in the people’s interests than the methods they are being pursued with.

The electoral politics adopted by much of the opposition to the regime are based on extremely dangerous illusions about the nature of the state and the world imperialist system it is embedded in. Such illusions are the necessary clothing of a stable reactionary state, especially when AKP’s actions are leading to cracks in the state’s legitimacy. Erdoğan’s attempts to use events and resorting to extreme measures does not mean that things are under his control. Just the opposite. The Ankara massacre brings to mind the possibility of the kind of state collapse that has occurred in Iraq or Syria. The same contradictions, however, could give a determined struggle against the regime much more impact and open the possibility of revolution.

The regime badly needs the people’s illusions to strengthen its hand in a gamble in which it could win or lose everything. This weakness could be exposed and taken advantage of, instead of seeking to lend the naked emperor some “democratic” clothing. In this extremely difficult and dangerous situation, being able to wage an effective and coherent fight against the regime’s mounting crimes depends on many factors, but most of all an understanding of what is really at stake.


A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.




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