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by John Millington
The unfolding political and social crisis in Turkey has come as a shock to many across Europe.
From the outside, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has been democratically elected and has been credited by some for seemingly trying to end the on going conflict with Kurdish political activists over long standing human rights issues.
However to many inside Turkey, his government has increasingly turned Turkey into a “neo-liberal, Islamic and pro-imperialist country.”
The ongoing protests sparked by opposition to the building of a mall on a green space at Gezi Park in Istanbul last Friday have quickly morphed into mass protests about a whole range of issues that the Turkish public at large, have with their PM.
The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) is just one of a series of groups who have come to prominence during the protests.
Speaking exclusively to the Dreadnaught, the party’s International Bureau sets out why the protests have occurred and what they hope to achieve in the coming weeks.
1. What is the role of the TKP with the uprising within Turkey?
TKP: We are on the streets since the first day of the uprising. Actually, we have been struggling against this government for years; therefore people know the political line of our party.
Today we are taking part in the demonstrations in various parts of the country. In some places people are asking our party to lead the demonstrations to prevent provocations.
2. Who is to blame for the violence?
TKP: The government and the arrogant Prime Minister are responsible from the violence. The clashes in Istanbul started after the brutal police attack to the people, who were staying at their tents at Gezi Park.
Then, the police escalated violence against the protesters who took the streets in different cities to show their solidarity with Gezi Park resistance.
Despite the calls to end violence and draw back the police, the government did not give in and caused the death of two young people.
3. Why has there been little mainstream media coverage?
TKP: The media is owned by powerful business groups, which have economic interests at stake.
The AKP government has managed to tie the capitalist class to it through distributing projects.
Therefore media got its share from people’s rage. On June 3rd, people gathered outside the headquarters of NTV, one of the most prestigious television channels in Turkey, and protested its coverage of the uprising.
4. What role have trades unions played in the current uprising?
TKP: As trade union organizations they have not shown any significant existence among the protesters.
Workers are taking part in the demonstrations but mostly individually.
One reason for that is the weakness of anti-government trade unions in Turkey.
But today there is a call out of strike from the trade unions of civil servants.
Tomorrow there will be a general strike.
5. What do the Turkish people hope to achieve from these protests?
TKP: The resignation of the government is the primary desire and goal of the protestors. Turkey cannot bear living under the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The government has virtually transformed Turkey into a neo-liberal, Islamic and pro-imperialist country.
Society is so dynamic that it cannot fit into their political project.
The protests increase day by day and the death of 22 year old Abdullah Cömert from the Peoples Republican Party CHP does not put an end to the demonstrations and protests.