CPI, Communist Party of Iran issued a statement before the second stage of the presidential election in Turkey. We are sharing the statement in English.
After the elections of May 14, 2023 in Turkey, during which the three main coalitions “Republic”, “Nation” and “Labor and Freedom” competed for the possession of 600 seats in the parliament, and the first election duel without a winner between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kılıçdaroğlu over the presidential election, the election process has entered the second round. Contrary to the predictions of the majority of polling companies, in the first round of this election, the People’s Alliance and Erdogan surpassed the Nation Alliance and Kılıçdaroğlu . The People’s Alliance, the coalition of the president, consisting of the Justice and Development Party and far-right nationalist and religious parties, won the majority in the parliament. Also, according to the statistics published by the Turkish state-affiliated news agencies, in the first round of the presidential elections, the candidate of the President’s coalition, Recep Tayyip Erdogan won 49.5% of the votes and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the Nation Alliance, won 44.9% of the votes. The six-member alliance “Nation”, which failed to end the two-decade dominance of the Justice and Development Party and Erdoğan himself in Turkey’s political structure, is preparing for the second round of elections to be held on May 28.
As the philosophy of the Nation Alliance, which was formed in early 2022, is to end the power of the “Justice and Development Party” and that of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and plan to win an absolute majority of parliamentary seats to change the constitution and end the presidential system through the referendum, the results of the May 14th parliamentary elections are considered a defeat for the opposition forces led by Kılıçdaroğlu .
In another development, far-right politician Sinan Oğan, who was eliminated from the race in the first round of the presidential election after winning 5% of the votes, has now joined the camp of Erdogan’s supporters. Oğan announced several preconditions, including the severe actions against groups such as the PKK and the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the expulsion of foreign refugees in a well-defined timeline, preventing the participation of Kurdish parties in the future government, adherence to the principles of pan-Turkism in the Turkish constitution, and reached an agreement with Erdogan.
There is no substantive difference between the political programs of the Nation Alliance candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Erdoğan, and both coalitions represent different factions of the Turkish bourgeoisie with deeply reactionary policies. In this situation, it is less likely to imagine a political scenario in which Kılıçdaroğlu wins the second round of the elections on May 28, considering his defeat in the first round of elections and the formation of a new coalition.
Following these developments, Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the opposition forces, has turned to playing in Erdogan’s propaganda field in an extreme way. Now, Kılıçdaroğlu repeats the same slogans that have been characteristic of Erdogan’s fascism for at least the last ten years. Only four days after the first round of elections, Kılıçdaroğlu announced in his campaign that: “As soon as I come to power, I will deport all the refugees.” Kılıçdaroğlu, who before the elections talked about the closeness and cooperation with the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the Green Left Party in order to win the votes of the people of Turkish Kurdistan, now insistently declares that he has not collaborated with “terrorists” and will not do so in the future. As in Iran, the defense of territorial integrity by Iranian nationalism is the code name for the suppression of the Kurdistan people, in Turkey, the fight against terrorism has become the code name for the suppression of the Kurds. In order to win the votes of Sinan Oğan’s supporters, Kılıçdaroğlu wants to show that he has not diminished Erdogan’s extreme nationalism.
But why are the opposition forces caught in such a defensive position against a fascist and corrupt rival like Erdogan? Why and how Erdogan despite the existence of a severe economic crisis with unbridled inflation, falling value of Turkish lira, increasing poverty and unemployment, increasing inequalities and deepening the class gap, failure in foreign policy, alliance with far-right currents, spread of corruption in the government structure, corruption and inefficiency in dealing with the earthquake crisis, and a track record full of failures in the last ten years has managed to attract the support of half of the voters?
The fact is that due to the institutionalized corruption in the government structure, Erdoğan has been able to spend part of the financial resources of the government and the Justice and Development Party through a network of mosques and religious institutions to provide the basic needs of a relatively large part of his voters to protect his loyal voters to some extent from the effects of the deep economic crisis
On the other hand, Erdogan is in control of the state media and with the help of their false propaganda, he has been able to instill in the public mind the image of a powerful figure who understands the concerns of the middle and conservative Turkish class about the expansion of Western cultural influence. Erdogan has managed to maintain his superiority over a rival who has nothing to say by mixing populist policies and combining existing fears and concerns with nostalgia for the lost grandeur of the Ottoman Empire. The high voter turnout indicates that Erdogan camp’s propaganda has been able to instigate the Islamic, backward, patriarchal, misogynistic, as well as far-right nationalist sentiments.
The defeat of the opposition forces led by Kılıçdaroğlu in the parliamentary elections will cause a wave of frustration for those voters who thought by relying on the mechanisms of bourgeois democracy and through the ballot box and taking advantage of the conflict between the two bourgeois factions, they could take down the fascist government of Erdoğan. This experience can be a lesson for the working class of Turkey and the toiling and deprived masses of this society that with bourgeois democracy and going behind a faction of the laic and secular bourgeoisie, it is not possible to save society from religious fascism.
This experience also contains the lesson for the working class and social movement activists in Iran that they cannot put an end to the fascism of religious capital and the poverty and misery caused by it by relying on laic and secular republicans. The Turkish working class can rally against the bourgeois government’s encroachment on its life and livelihood only by organizing itself in its mass and class organizations and its communist party and gaining the solidarity of progressive social movements.
PKK and the People’s Democratic Party are in strategic confusion and with the false hope that with the victory of the Republican People’s Party and Kılıçdaroğlu in these elections, the people of Kurdistan will achieve part of their demands and the Kurdish issue will be resolved in a peaceful way, thus they have asked the people in Kurdistan to support Kılıçdaroğlu in this election campaign. This is while, the history of the crimes of the Republican People’s Party, the legacy of Atatürk, which is now led by Kılıçdaroğlu , against the Kurds and Alevis, is not hidden from anyone.
The people of Turkish Kurdistan, not by supporting Kılıçdaroğlu in this election campaign, but in unity and solidarity with the working class movement and other progressive social movements in Turkey, can guarantee progress in the fight against the fascist government of Turkey and for the realization of their rights.