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(en) Kara MecmuA #9 - Turkey's EU saga (tr)

From Ozgur Devrim <ozgurlukcudevrim@yahoo.com>
Date Sat, 19 Apr 2003 16:04:25 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

The article below that was published in Kara MecmuA
(Black MAg) issue April-May 2003 was written for the
monthly anarchist paper in Germany
Graswurzelrevolution (Grassroot Revolution).
(Batur Ozdinc)
> Turkey's EU saga
Recently I witnessed the discussion of two anarchists
on the EU, one living in England and the other in
Turkey. While our comrade from London with Turkish
origin was putting forth a classical anarchist anti-EU
argument, our syndicalist comrade from Ankara was
mentioning -with more personal concerns than
political- the positive economic and political
developments that would result from joining the EU.

According to a Turkish saying "The one who falls into
the sea, hugs on to a snake". Those that are for
Turkey's EU membership are not yet aware of this
snake, and those that are aware think that there
many "snakenesses" of the EU other than that it is a
Christian club (1)and is over democratic (support for
anti-Turkey destructive/devisives). There are ones
that go further and claim that Turkey won't need the
USA anymore after joining EU. Doubtless these persons
ignore that Turkey acts with the USA and the UK on the
NATO and European Army discussions and with the USA
and Israel on Middle-East politics (2).

Mentioning the army is to talk about one of the
decisive institutions on policy decisions in the
Turkish Republic. According to the existing 1982
Constitution, the National Security Council (MGK)
which half of its members consist of high ranking
military commanders, has a status even above the
Council of Ministers and the decisions taken by the
MGK "are taken into consideration by the Council of
Ministers with
priority". (3) The MGK, using this power, had not
hesitated to remove the ruling islamist party from
power on 28 February 1997. The army that is faced with
the risk of losing this power with the EU process is
taking a position of being for "Turkey's entrance to
the EU without compromising her high interests". The
army does not care much about democratisation. As long
as no harm comes to their own power, and the reforms
aid in reforming the "dissidents", the army won't make
much fuss about democratisation. (4)

Democratisation, with economic reforms is among issues
deemed important during the EU entrance process. The
Kurdish movement and Islamists that are of the
dissidents living in Turkey are mostly for entering EU
in the context of democratisation. Kurds (more
correctly the PKK-KADEK, "patriot" Kurds), who have
been among the groups that have received the most
repression and torture along with Marxist leftists
since the founding of the Republic are supportive of
democratisation (EU) in order to both secure their
minority rights and have a guarantee that Abdullah
Ocalan, whom they see as their leader, will not be
hanged. Similar things are applicable for the Islamist
movement which the state ignored for a long while, but
tried to prevent them from making politics once they
started to become a threat to the existing system.
According to them, even if the EU seems like a
Christian club (or even if it is), it can be
preferable to the Kemalist (=atheist) army. According
to news in the papers, the "Islamist-democrat" AKP,
discussing joining the European Christian Democrat
Parties Union. (5)

Even though it consists of many legal/illegal parties,
organistaions and groups, the Marxist-socialist left
that -according to the election results- has the
support of only 3% looks undecided on the subject of
EU. On the one hand hardline pro-EU ones coming close
to a pro democratisation-civil society line, the ones
who prefer to remain undecided or silent in between,
and on the other hand the "Workers" Party that clings
on to an anti-EU position derived from a nationalist
left discourse.

The Turkish bourgeoisie has surprisingly turned
democrat with the EU process. The Turkish
capitalist-bourgeoisie has put huge sized
announcements to newspapers with the name of Turkey
Platform talking about more democratisation and
structural reforms. Undoubtedly capitalists are
mentioning arrangements on rights like freedom of
speech that can suffice in convincing the EU rather
than social arrangements like syndical rights and job
security. The capitalist-bourgeoisie can only be
honest about "democratism" as long as it serves its
own economic interests. Their democratism is turning a

blind eye to the massacres that the USA will engage in
Irak. (6). Their democratism is new markets that will
open up parallel to the entrance to EU, opening Beko
factories to employ Polish peasants, making Efes
Pilsen a brand desired by Slovakian youth,
establishing a new Telsim phone company in Hungary.

A similar process took place in recent history during
the campaigns for improvement of relations with
Greece. Turkish and Greek business men set out with
benign aims like improving our "trade" relations were
saying it is politicians that create enmity between
the two peoples and were talking about our regional
potential. No one should expect us anarchists who
believe in the futility of state borders to fall for
these traditional trickeries. (7) The themes discussed
were Turkish-Greek investments in countries like
Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and Macedonia, where can we
exploit more, how can we add more profit to our
profits - this was the main issue. The Turkish
bourgeoisie wants to
expand its region of exploitation spanning the
Balkans, Caucas Region, Middle-Asia and Middle-East
even more due to its economic concerns. To cover East
Europe as well that is expected to be included to the
before Turkey, to increase sales of commodities and
services in West Europe. One of our right-liberal
politicians did not refrain from using Hitler's term
"liebensraum" to describe Turkey's such expansionist
aims. (8)

One of the important problems for Turkey (and for EU
and Greece) was Cyprus. I am using "was" because this
matter has inevitably entered into a process of
resolution already. The Turkish Republic which in
1974 invaded the north of the island and installed a
government under its control has begun to understand
that it has come to the end of the road with the EU
process. Cyprus's admittance to the EU will manifest
the fact that the Turkish Army is occupying a part of
EU territory. Unprecedented numbers of people are
holding meetings in occupied territory, banners are
being opened against occupiers and slogans are
chanted. After all these developments, Turkey has been
forced to declare that she has abandoned her
traditional Cyprus policy through the Foreign
Ministry. (9) Therefore North Cyprus as a meeting
place for
the Turkish mafia-state-bourgeoisie triad with its
off-shore banks and casinos is being presented to the
EU in a golden den plate. Anyhow, heavy negotiations
and diplomatic games will continue for a while on
this issue. As a conclusion, Cyprus is the top
concession that Turkey is planning to make to the EU.

Is the EU that Turkey is planning to join an angel in
terms of democracy and human rights? It seems to me
that one of the basic arguments of the Europe Project
that is togetherness of diversities and respect for
differences was developed somewhat because of each
member state's own "national" concerns on protecting
their interests. The struggle of social opposition
movements and working class struggles that have been
partially successful and determining in European
history in context of democratic gains cannot be
ignored. But all these movements have neither
prevented the development of the Europol project or
the invisibility of immigrants. There may be more
tolerance to a molotov thrower in Greece than an
Albanian immigrant shot in the street. If you ask the
German police, a demonstrating German autonomist is
preferable to a "scum" Turk. Similarly in the past
days the Turkish Police was complaining about the
amount of money spent for catching immigrants trying
to cross borders. As a person writing from Turkish
land, I would not want to go on without mentioning the
hundreds of
thousands of helpless persons caught, imprisoned,
deported, humiliated, wounded and died/killed during
their painful journey. Tens of thousands of poor
persons suffocating in ship cellars, truck containers,
drowning in the Mediterranean waters. If one day
Turkey becomes member of the EU, the immigrants trying
to enter "EU territory" from south and east
Anatolia will probably be facing the same fate.

For us, what matters is what joining the EU means not
for just those living in Turkey but for all of the
poor, working class and oppressed in our region and
the world. If democratisation is going to be only on
paper in the law and like always be "limited" - for
example Kurds are still not allowed to learn their own
language despite the laws passed - and if joining the
EU will mean more welfare for us at the cost of more
exploitation for workers and poor in other countries
then the EU means nothing to us.


1- The Pope, who was angry at Berlusconi's support for
Turkey before the December 2002 Kopenhagen Summit went
as far as to the Italian Parliament and did not
refrain from mentioning that "Christianity is one of
the basic values of Europe".

2- The National Security Policy Paper published in
August-September issue of Birikim ("Accumulation", a
Marxist/intellectual theory/analysis magazine)
periodical had one item "undisclosed to the
press". This was probably the item on the Turkish
Republic's concerns against the USA. An interesting
example showing how much the Turkish Republic is
afraid of the USA.

3- Item 118 of the Constitution.

4- On the issue of Mehmet Bal's conciencious
objection, the Military Attorney decision of
"investigation not necessary" still mentioned the
"mandatory military service" according to existing
laws. In summary,
the army is saying: "Whatever you say, you still have
to do soldiership!"

5- Milliyet ("Nation", daily newspaper), January 18,

6- TUSIAD (Turkish Industry and Business Men
Association) member business men that met Pearson, the
US Ankara ambassador at lunch blamed the existing
ruling party of carrying out passive politics by not
unconditionally supporting the USA on the matter of

7- Quote from Chomsky, on a interview in Red & Black
Revolution issue 2.

8- Ex-prime minister and ANAP (Motherland Party)
leader Mesut Yilmaz, who is from the German school.

9- Hurriyet ("Liberty", daily newspaper), January 9, 2003.

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