On the night of 15th July, there was an attempt at a coup. Within a short space of time it became clear that the putschists lacked depth and that probably they were officers in the process of betraying one another. And before the putsch had been in progress for as little as two hours, the AKP government went over to the counter-attack, starting manoeuvres aimed at neutralising the coup. And by ensuring mass support, they dressed themselves up as “great democracy heroes”.
All developments revealed the weakness of the coup and had the result of strengthening the AKP. Together with the coup’s failure it became clear that it would essentially serve as a basis for attacks on the people and the would be confronted by these attacks.
Both the putschists and the AKP which came out against the putsch wanted to be strong enough to eliminate each other. And both shared the common characteristic of being enemies of the people and collaborators with imperialism.
Experiencing all this, what is essential for us is what attitude to adopt to such a coup or clash…
From the first moments, before the result of the coup was obvious, we considered that events were charged with hostility to the people. Every turn, every clash taking place in the front presented by the oligarchy bore the character of hostility to the people and action was taken on this basis, and the Halk Cephesi (People’s Front) in particular sought to protect our neighbourhoods and institutions and adopt a correct attitude to both the forces of the oligarchy in conflict with one another, presenting this approach openly and clearly.
Wherever they were, our masses went into action showing willpower and a correct ideological approach… Their slogan was “Down with the oligarchy, long live people’s power!” If they had a weapon they armed themselves with it, if not, they held stones and Molotov cocktails. But most important of all they went out into the streets armed with their hearts and consciousness and and acted with the determination to support the people and their neighbourhoods.
This is a Cephe (Front) tradition, the spirit of the Cephe. On the morning of 12th September (1980) with the advent of the fascist junta, revolutionary duties were put forward and the supporters of the Cephe went into action with the slogan, “The Junta Cannot Make The People Surrender”, and following 15th July revolutionary duties were also not set aside, they showed readiness for new developments and went into action to repel fascist attacks.
Our belief is not and can never be that it is like a holiday for revolutionaries when the fascists are preoccupied with viciously fighting one another… And with the consciousness of establishing revolutionary people’s power, their hearts beat for this and everything focused on this, was thought through and fought for…
Events Are A Fight For Power Within The Oligarchy Created By The Crisis Of The Oligarchy’s Inability To Rule!
The basic reason for the coup is the crisis engendered by the oligarchy’s inability to rule. It started as an AKP-Cemaat (translator’s note, hereafter TN: Fethullah Gülen movement) clash, and from that day to this the political crisis reached the point where it not only deepened but drew other forces into the conflict… To establish a government on a sound basis, to form a government completely under its control, it finds itself in confrontation with every other sector. Because it is powerless. And being powerless there are no forces with which it can act together that it can trust.
Moreover, in the fight within the oligarchy the AKP lacks alternatives. No force alone has the strength to ensure stability in the name of the government. This being so, it is also a matter of the AKP’s needs… Removing the AKP from power and installing in its place a powerful government, one of the methods for doing this was the coup, which came onto the agenda as their own internal contradictions reached their deepest point. And the coup was the product of these contradictions.
This was not clear in the first hours but while the coup was the culmination of developments, it was completely unable to take hold. This arose from the shallowness of the putsch. They started a coup, but began to be afraid from the moment of starting it. Nobody saw any high-ranking general step onto the stage. Someone wanted to do something, but who it was and what they wanted to achieve were not at all obvious. Some hours after the AKP went over to the attack, the putschists briefly occupied TRT (TN: state TV and radio broadcasting centre in Turkey). A group calling itself “Yurtta Sulh Konseyi” (TN: “Council For Peace In The Country”) made a speaker read out an announcement, but they could not hold onto TRT long and lost it… For a time there were also attempts to occupy CNN Türk television but this too only lasted a short while, etc.
In brief, this putschist group was liquidated in a short time because it did not get the support it hoped for in the localities, and support was necessary. This being the case, it also resorted to massacres and shows of strength to get a result, but when this too was unsuccessful, it showed a complete lack of coordination and began to surrender.
They took fright, because the force they were relying on was imperialism. The imperialists were far from giving clear and open support but it appeared that if the putsch were successful they would support it, and perhaps had made this clear beforehand. Statements by the USA in particular showed this clearly, in the first moments they used words like “we are following it” and referred to “sides”.
For that matter, the statements by the putschists showed their ties to imperialism and also showed that they were not a force on the side of the people and therefore not acting out of concern for the people. This was particularly stressed in a statement they issued:
“The Council For Peace In The Country: Every precaution will be taken to meet obligations to the UN, NATO and all other international institutions.”
The putschists announced that they were tied to the UN and NATO… And they announced these ties from the first moment. When the putschists announced that everything they would do would conform to what imperialism said, how could they be on the side of the people or concerned about the people? Or be concerned about the homeland? It is clear that they would be marching in lockstep behind imperialism while the people are left hungry.
Are the AKP, and Erdogan, who rushed to oppose the putsch in order to safeguard their own government, different from them? Certainly not. From their first statements too they felt the need to be on the side of the USA… Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu gained support from the US State Department as the hours advanced, received support in a phone conversation from the US Secretary of State and declared while announcing this that his confidence was growing. In the following hours too Erdogan felt on top of the situation. Obama also expressed open support and the AKP began to feel more confident in taking action…
OUR PEOPLE, DO NOT LET YOURSELVES BE USED AS A TOOL IN THE CLASH WITHIN THE OLIGARCHY!
Erdogan and the AKP’s objective in calling the people out into the streets was to eliminate the coup by aligning popular support behind themselves and to cash in on opposition to the coup and sanctimoniousness about democracy.
Alongside this, with the aim of firming up its own grip on power, this mobilised mass of people was sent against revolutionaries and areas not under control in the coup environment, with the aim of eliminating the revolutionaries and strengthening their own grip on power. For this reason they did not neglect to centrally direct and control calls to the people to go out into the squares. Central loudspeakers particularly situated in mosques so that prayer calls can be broadcast by muezzins were used to gather support by calling people out into the streets.
Behind these calls to people to go out into the streets lay the goal of crushing the putschists and carrying out an intimidation operation, and regaining the support of the masses on an anti-putsch basis.
While for a considerable time the AKP has used force to suppress every demand of the people for rights and has banned people and workers seeking rights from assemblies in the city squares, this time when its own rule was in danger it wanted the people to go out into the streets to protect its government.
In the first days of these calls by the AKP, while there was not a very great response seen from the AKP masses, other than from skull-capped fascists, there was some resonance obvious from certain circles in the name of “opposing the coup” and “supporting democracy”.
The first shock of the putsch and in particular bombing by the putschists also boosted this effect. All bourgeois parties, including the HDP, lined up behind the AKP, explaining that they were against the coup, and they gave the AKP strength and confidence.
This fight is a fight of no interest to any section of the people. The oligarchy’s own internal battle is a battle to determine who will be in government against the people. The AKP, which for months has been carrying out massacres in Kurdistan and defending them vociferously, is today cursing the massacres by the putschists. Any subject that is problematic for them they try to tear down. Hardly a week had passed before they started to say it was the putschists who killed the Russian pilots etc. (sic) (TN: in fact one Russian was killed after he ejected from a plane shot down by the Turkish armed forces in November 2015. The other crew member was rescued by the Syrian army. At the time Erdogan and the then prime minister of Turkey, Davutoglu, gave every indication of approving of the shootdown, but it may now suit Erdogan to blame the incident and the dramatic worsening of relations with Russia that followed on the putschists.) With classic AKP demagogy they seek to deceive the people.
The AKP is also, when it comes to hostility to the people and committing massacres, just as expert as the putschists.
From the first moments of the coup some minds were confused: some in opposition to the AKP supporting the putsch, or being positively inclined towards it, while for others opposition to it is being dressed up as being a defender of democracy – in fact both approaches are wrong… Because the putschists and the AKP are cut from the same cloth. Both are children of imperialism and hostile to the people. And being against the coup is not being a defender of democracy… Breathing life into AKP fascism cannot be explained as being a defence of democracy.
The people have no interests at all in this fight…
The sides engaged in the fight are such enemies of the people that one set bombed and raked with gunfire people who happened to be out in the streets at the time, while another set counted on calling out people into the streets to attack revolutionaries, and indeed attacks were carried out.
This is made clear by the fact that calls to go out into the squares were mainly directed at getting people who responded to head in the direction of neighbourhoods where revolutionaries are to be found.
For days AKP supporters have been attempting attacks on neighbourhoods, especially those inhabited by revolutionaries. This is certainly not a coincidence. If the AKP does this it is not done without a purpose.
The AKP is turning its dogs loose on the people, and this is the product of its drive to intimidate them.
Because the AKP knows that within the oligarchy, control in one form or another can be assured and its government can continue. But the people are dangerous. And the people are very dangerous if they act together with revolutionaries and fight and take part in clashes under revolutionary leadership. So in an area where revolutionaries are present in an organised fashion, it is absolutely imperative to eliminate them. Otherwise, however much the government may strengthen itself, the greatest danger to itself will continue and there can be no safety for it.
For this reason, on the one hand it is continuing the dog fight within itself at the highest level, carrying out a clean-up operation within the state as a result of the coup attempt and turning this into an operation to ensure its own control, while on the other it is sending its dogs to assault our neighbourhoods in an effort to eliminate the revolutionaries.
THE CEPHE, SINCE THE BEGINNING AT THE SIDE OF THE PEOPLE, AND AT THEIR HEAD
Cepheliler (supporters of the Cephe or Front) were from the first moments of the coup in the streets and together with the people were organising popular resistance to fascist attacks. When news of the coup was confirmed, immediately after Cepheliler in the neighbourhoods where they live went out into the streets to protect their neighbourhoods and the people. They reached for their weapons, taking hold of any kind of weapon they could obtain, but the most important weapon was their hearts, with the consciousness of being Cepheliler they went out into the streets… And in organising resistance they also experienced attack by fascist police… At midnight they were fighting both the putsch and the AKP’s counter-putsch… The masses the AKP gathered were sent to houses to attempt attacks on the people, and their attacks on revolutionaries were carried out in a determined fashion, but they knew their limitations and were driven off by those defending their neighbourhoods…
Dev-Gencliler (supporters of Revolutionary Youth) in Okmeydani went out into the streets, after being informed they began to engage in agitation, they met attacks directed at the neighbourhood, they patrolled the neighbourhood and at certain points provided security. At some of these security points they also drove off attackers.
In Gazi neighbourhood, the locals responded to groups at the entrance who spread to different areas, summoned there by mosque announcements, they worked to drive off these groups and fascist organisations who gathered there, in this way replying to the putschists and the AKP… Similar resistance occurred in Cayan, Kucukarmutlu, Bagcilar and other neighbourhoods (TN: all of these are districts in Istanbul). News was also received of similar occurrences in various areas of Anatolia…
The Cephe met the putsch in this manner and the following day showed the same consciousness and resolve, and this time prepared to act in a more organised manner. At internal meetings, decisions were clarified and then acted upon, attitudes to the putsch and the AKP were then immediately communicated to the people concerning how to defend neighbourhoods, how to protect them from fascist attack and how to defend the people.
On the second day (Saturday) action was taken in a more organised fashion. Determination was shown as regards setting up barricades, where weapons would be placed and at what points intervention would take place. Also neighbourhood small businesses were visited and informed of how mosque imams and their announcements were being used as a propaganda instrument. The mosque imams were given warnings, while the people and small businesses were summoned to resistance.
And indeed AKP-organised fascist attacks took place before much time had passed, but even as they got under way, interventions by the revolutionaries and the people forced the attackers to scatter.
The AKP organised with some difficulty a mass of people but with the leadership of revolutionaries, these were prevented from getting into our neighbourhoods, and those who had come to intimidate were themselves intimidated. At this point it was left to the police to launch attacks.
By the third day it was henceforth the fascist police that the AKP selected as the basis for attacking our neighbourhoods… It was not able to organise fascist mobs to attack them…
The basic cause of this is the Cephe’s determination, and its basic viewpoint of never abandoning the people and having confidence in them.
While quite a lot of others were still hearing the footsteps of the coup and calculating “how can I escape?”, the state of mind of Cepheliler was quite different. And this was such that it was only days later in Gazi, namely on Monday evening (18th July) that Sultangazi Solidarity, composed of the HDP and the great bulk of the “left”, called on the people to take up duties against fascism… That is, days after people had been guarding their neighbourhoods and clashes had broken out…
They did not behave differently from how they had behaved at the time of the 12th September junta, abandoning the people and only thinking of their own skins…
In short, the Cephe together with the people, by organising resistance is conducting a correct and just fight. This is not to take a side in the fight within the oligarchy but to take conscious actions to organise people’s war.
THE CRISIS IN THE OLIGARCHY IS NOT RESOLVED AND IT WILL DEEPEN
The fight within the oligarchy today, with the AKP holding onto government and using all its strength against the putschists and taking advantage of the opportunity to reshape the state as it wishes, does not mean that its crisis is at an end. On the contrary, the crisis will only continue to deepen. The bosses have been warning the AKP, which has been shaking the foundations of the state as it has been constituted up to now. In statements they have made the EU and USA have clearly said, “Do not go too far.” With an already corrupted government with weakened foundations, an unrestrained purge aimed at installing new cadres in their place is going to cause problems and a great deal more thrashing around, and the government is not far from being shaken by even greater tremors.
The government of a neo-colonial country is weak. Because of its internal conflicts, it loses cadres and becomes powerless, entering a coma-like state.
Today, having overcome the putsch, the AKP feels wind in its sails and is waving its cutlass around, but the bosses are issuing warnings that in this state its life expectancy will not be very long…
And what worries them is that the oligarchic state’s life expectancy is not much longer than that of the AKP’s. And they see that their developing crisis will, in the end, benefit revolutionaries.
For governments that are enemies of the people, their greatest fear is people’s war. Today, despite all appearance of strength, they cannot succeed in getting large masses into the squares and the AKP is only left with its own narrow fascist cadre base. There is no reason why the AKP should not encounter even greater opposition from the people. A government exploiting the people to the marrow and leaving them hungry is not in a condition to deceive the people much longer.
Observing a deepening economic crisis and today a period of fairly deep political crisis, there is no reason at all why it should not conclude in an even deeper social crisis. And this crisis will create conditions for a fight to be waged for people’s power.
This is why every Cepheli has the duty to organise, to be better armed, to fight to arm the people at all times, in order to build up the people’s war. The duty: to turn the deepening crisis of the oligarchy into organising the people for people’s power. The duty: deepen the crisis of the oligarchy with the aim of building up the war.
Let us organise in the ranks of the Party-Front in order to deepen the crisis of the oligarchy yet further. The Party-Front is the only organisation struggling against the oligarchy for people’s power. The Cephe is the force that organises for people’s war on the side of the people, despite all attacks by the oligarchy and by fascism. Without fighting against the oligarchy, which is solely responsible for the hunger of the people and for poverty, without tearing down all forces of the oligarchy, the putschists and the AKP, people’s liberation is not possible. Let us fight against those responsible for hunger and poverty… Let us demand a reckoning from those responsible for our hunger and the tyranny we experience.
Kurds and Turks, Laz, Cherkess, Arabs, Georgians, all our people’s liberation is through joint struggle and war. The Party-Front is the force organising war. Let us organise in the ranks of the Cephe, get armed and establish our own power through people’s war!
THE SOLUTION IS REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S POWER!
LET US ORGANISE IN THE RANKS OF THE PARTY-FRONT FOR PEOPLE’S POWER!
IN THE RANKS OF THE PARTY-FRONT, LET US UNITE, FIGHT AND WIN!
Yürüyüs [“March”] weekly magazine, issue no. 531, July 24, 2016, pages 9 to 12