TKP at the 19th IMCWP
Speech of Kemal Okuyan at the 19th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties, which meet on the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Revolution
On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkey, I comradely salute the Communist Part of Russian Federation for organizing this historic meeting on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, and all comrades who attend this meeting from all around the world.
I do not think that today we have gathered here only for commemorating a great event that occurred a hundred years ago. In our 19th meeting, we got together to discuss the Great October Revolution, the principles and values which had been the subject matter of the revolution, the validity of Marxist-Leninist theory as proven once again by the revolution itself and all developments that followed it, and the tasks that all these entrusted on us.
A century later, the socialist revolution is timely, and nothing can set this fact aside, nothing can push it back to an uncertain date.
In order to avoid falling into repetitions, I would rather emphasize the situation in Turkey in my speech, in which I will try to be as frank as possible.
Turkey is a perfect example that proves how futile, how deceptive the strategies other than socialist revolution are; how meaningless they are for the toiling masses.
15 years ago, various “left-wing” groups in Turkey used to say that the major problem was “the military’s role in politics”, and consider demilitarization and democratization as the main target. Hence, they supported Erdoğan, either explicitly or tacitly. They also considered the EU membership candidacy of Turkey as a positive step. In the end, Erdoğan showed everyone, including some of these factions which supported him, what democracy means in the bourgeois order. The prisons in Turkey are now crammed. The TKP has proven right.
They said, “let the Kurdish issue be resolved first” years ago in Turkey. Hence they supported Erdoğan. Then the Kurdish national movement showed that it can become an ally of the United States as the case may be, and they kept silent in the face of this fact as well. They have made the principle of the self-determination of nations, which Lenin firmly associated with a revolutionary strategy, a pretext for adopting a position in conflicts within the imperialist system, made it an excuse for dividing the working class movement. In the end, neither the Kurdish issue has been resolved, nor could it be possible to prevent the consolidation of hostilities between peoples. The TKP, once again, has proven right.
The experience of Turkey is utterly revealing as it illuminates the consequences of dreams considering the improvement of a bourgeois dictatorship through reforms and the outcomes of collaborating with bourgeois actors. Capitalism does not reconcile with democracy, freedoms or peace!
Considering the issues of independence, sovereignty; of anti-imperialism… A decade ago, Erdoğan was introducing himself as an anti-American politician, one who is friends with oppressed nations in the Middle East and Latin America. We have warned our friends on many occasions back then. Unfortunately, as some expected democratization from him, some others imagined him as an anti-imperialist leader. When Erdoğan started to support terrorist gangs in Syria in collaboration with USA, only then, they had abandoned these dreams. Some friends wondered, “how come Erdoğan could change this much!” We have always told them that “he has not changed at all, he was and has always been the man of giant monopolies”.
Now, the relationship between Erdoğan and certain countries has deteriorated due to many different reasons. Once again, we regretfully see that the foreign policy maneuvers that Erdoğan conducts to strengthen his hand in intra-imperialist rivalry and negotiations have caused a stir in certain circles. Some consider him as a great leader, a folk hero. Our task is to prevent this illusion to plague world communist movement as well.
The hostility of Turkish capitalism against working class, the anti-people character of this government, does not change when it fares well with Russia or China in foreign policy. The system of alliances has been faltering in international politics today; all bourgeois governments are redefining their positions. Communists must not get lost, shall not allow themselves to be carried away from pillar to post, in geostrategic developments. When Erdoğan possibly makes out with the United States, those who are singing praises to him today will once again blame him for being a “reactionary dictator”. As a matter of fact, nothing has changed with him, and nothing will ever change.
The fact that the most powerful and the toughest enemy at international scale today is still the US and NATO should not draw us away from the class character of the issue at hand. Communists are fighting against the US imperialism, its military bases, its occupations, against the NATO, and they will never trivialize this fight. However, unless this is openly combined with overthrowing the bourgeois dictatorship at home, a colossal inconsistency would arise. Today, we have the so-called “nationalist leftists” in Turkey who support Erdoğan. Yesterday they were at the forefront of opposition against him. Well, what do the toiling masses make of it? “Nothing has ever changed for me,” they say.
Many comrades ask us about what is going on in Turkey. We tell them that capitalism is in a huge crisis, the capital inveighs against the laborers, yet cannot find a way out. Turkish currency is losing its value at breakneck speed, political uncertainty is looming, the war is around the corner. The TKP, in turn, is talking about turning this chaotic, dreadful scene into an opportunity. For there is no solution within capitalism. We would not sympathize with the reactionary, Islamist dictatorship of the monopolies simply because it has fallen out with the US. But we would also come out against any color revolution, a Soros coup, to be attempted against Erdoğan. We do not prefer one to the other.
And we comradely appeal all communist parties to stay away from the religious reactionaries, from the liberals, from the allies of the US in Turkey. Your only friends in Turkey are those who fight for the cause of the working class.