We are publishing below the English translation of the editorial of the newspaper Gerçek (Truth, Pravda), the central organ of the DIP that aims to reach, first and foremost, the working class and other labouring layers of the population.
Erdoğan may have won the elections, but he still has in his hands an economy in ruins, on top of the ruins from the recent earthquake. His recent economic policy sought to postpone the symptoms of the crisis until after the elections. This is no different than giving painkillers to a patient on their deathbed. The symptoms were temporarily alleviated while the disease spread further. Erdoğan is set to enter the so-called “century of Turkey” (referring to the start of the second century of the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923) drowning in massive depth, the vaults of the central bank emptied out and the state budget filled with holes. We, the workers, toilers, petty traders and peasants, will be burdened with the price that Erdoğan gets ready to make us pay. The debt collector is already recruited: a darling of imperialist financial circles and a British citizen to boot, Mehmet Şimsek.
The cost of living will surely skyrocket. Since the local elections are soon, Erdoğan is bound to resort to minimum wage hikes; but the scissors effect will show itself and impoverishment will follow. The already harsh taxes will be increased further in order to balance budgets. The welfare spending, including education and healthcare, that might be less immediately noticeable than wages will be cut. Peasants will be left to the whims of loan sharks. The scourge of unemployment will add up to all of these in waves. The army of unemployed will grow larger, the wages will go down, and bosses will fire anyone who demands a raise. Poverty wages will be forced upon the masses under the pretense of “being the only alternative to lay-offs”. Erdoğan will be at the helm in this class war of capital. With the help of British Mehmet, they will cancel severance pay and bring back the project of flexible working under the pretense of structural reforms to fight unemployment.
This is the bill Erdoğan is preparing to make the working class and the toiling people of Turkey pay. On the other hand, this is exactly the same program put forward by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition party in Turkey and Erdoğan’s main challenger in the presidential elections. He would accomplish this deed with the help of Ali Babacan, Minister of Economy in previous AKP governments1 for 13 years and now part of Kılıçdaroğlu’s opposition bloc, instead of Mehmet Şimşek. He would claim to have inherited an economic ruin. But Erdoğan will follow a different strategy. He will use the same arguments he used to win the elections, but this time to make the masses foot the bill. He will claim that the crisis is the doing of foreign forces. He will continue to use the demagogy of national survival against this foreign assault. He will ask the masses to tolerate the pain, so that the nation would live on. He will declare anyone who dares to protest a terrorist. Perhaps even those who fell for this propaganda during the elections and called their friends, colleagues and class brothers and sisters a terrorist, will themselves get to be labeled as one.
None escaped being labeled as such in their struggles, from Tekel workers2 to Turkish Airlines workers, from construction workers to dock workers, from peasants to intellectuals, from students to professors. This fate has fallen upon them no matter who they used to vote for. Tomorrow will be the same. The stick of despotism will bash anyone who protests for their rights, regardless of their vote. But make no mistake! The working class will not passively wait for their slaughter during this time. Those who elected to fight and organize will break the hand that raises against workers, toilers and the people. They very well know how to occupy the factories as well as the squares. They can crush barricades and overcome strike bans!
We call upon our working class. Both those who celebrate Erdoğan’s victory and those who fall into despair after this election are in the wrong. We need to look at our history and remember it. Youth should read and ask their elders. Was there ever any election that brought prosperity to workers, toilers, and peasants? Even Bülent Ecevit, a former Prime Minister and a former chairman of Kılıçdaroğlu’s party, who was elected on a seemingly progressive program for the workers in 1977 with the popular slogan of “water to the farmer and land to the tiller”, turned on to the confederation of revolutionary trade unions that supported him immediately after the elections, declaring that “he owed them nothing.” Many parties came and went, and they all made the workers pay. But, on the other hand, our history is replete with examples of great resistance and solidarity, such as the Kavel factory workers who won the right to strike through strikes. We have in our memory the great worker’s uprising on June 15-16, 1970, where workers stood up for their right to organize and strike with a two-day-long unarmed uprising, and saved their unions through fighting. We have memories of crushing MESS (Turkish Employers Association of Metal Industries) through mass strikes. The right to severance pay has been won at that time. We have great occupations of Tekel workers and metal sector strikes that put fear into the hearts of Koçs3. The massive strike and the walkout of Zonguldak mining workers have kept their mines from being closed down in 1990-1991. Many peasant demonstrations kept traders from robbing producers during the first AKP government. 1989 Spring demonstrations were the spark that tore apart the darkness of the 1980s after the coup of 1980. Kızılay resistance that paved the way for the creation of public sector unions, the people's uprising that began with the Gezi protests exactly ten years ago, and so many more…
These are all examples where we won our rights through hard struggles, crushed barricades, occupied squares, and when the people finally made the bosses and their governments pay dearly for their actions. These are examples where the labels of “terrorist” and “anarchist” were torn apart, and the animosity between Turkish and Kurdish peoples was replaced by class solidarity and the fraternity of peoples; these are examples where Turks and Kurds, Sunnis and Alevis fought against their class enemies hand in hand. These are guiding examples achieved by those who elected to fight and organize. The future will undoubtedly bear witness to new victories. Previous generations of workers left you many victories. Now is your turn to make history. Victory belongs to those who make the right choice, those who side with their class to close the ranks and take part in their class’s struggle.
1 -AKP, or the Justice and Development Party is Erdoğan’s political party.
2 -Tekel was a state-owned tobacco and alcoholic beverage company. It was privatised in 2008 by AKP, leading to months-long occupation of the streets of the capital, Ankara, by Tekel workers.
3 -Koç family is the richest bourgeois family in Turkey and they own the Koç Holding, the largest group of companies in the country.