passed by the National Action Committee 7/19/2016

On the night of July 15, Turkey was attacked yet again, not by the inveterate bogeymen of Daesh, but by the oldest scourge of Turkish democracy: the military. For the fifth time in the past 56 years, factions within the armed forces attempted to seize control of the country, commandeering the airwaves and deploying tanks and aircraft throughout Istanbul and Ankara.

Unlike the previous coups, however, this one failed within hours, thanks to the incompetence of the plotters, a lack of support from within the rest of the Turkish state, and most critically, steadfast opposition from the Turkish masses. We salute the people of Turkey who recognized this putsch for what it was, roundly rejected it, and put their bodies on the line to defeat it. We recognize that their victory was a victory for democracy and popular power, and a bold example of what mass action
against reaction can achieve. Their bravery will not be forgotten.

It was also a victory for Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP government. Always right-wing and neoliberal, Erdogan has become increasingly authoritarian in recent years, cracking down on the press, civil society, and particularly progressive and revolutionary forces and consolidating further power. They have also reignited the savage, chauvinist war against the Kurds, which has taken the lives of hundreds of civilians in its latest incarnation. These dangerous and criminal practices must be loudly condemned. That said, if the history of modern Turkey has taught us anything, it’s that there is a deep and abiding tendency towards fascism in the Turkish deep state, and particularly within the military. A successful coup would have certainly meant the bloody acceleration and escalation of the AKP government’s most reactionary policies, and given the mass base the AKP still commands, a probable civil war. As in Egypt, the military would not have saved Turkey from the imperfections of bourgeois democracy, but ushered it back into the death-grip of dictatorship, at an immense cost to the working class and minorities of all stripes. The fact that this possibility was quashed in its infancy is worth celebrating, but what follows will not be. Emboldened by the backing of most of the state forces, the public, and even the political opposition, a resurgent Erdogan will take advantage of this golden opportunity to clean house. The government will almost certainly widen the circle of repression beyond the plotters and their accomplices, using the coup as an excuse to accumulate more power and further erode Turkey’s well-earned democratic gains. Furthermore, there are reports that some of the government supporters are carrying out acts of opportunistic violence and abuse against Syrian refugees, women, and others. We support all of our comrades in Turkey who will fight the inevitable backlash and such unacceptable vigilantism, and continue the struggle for a truly free and just society.

Down with oppression, whether in uniform or suits, and up with the Turkish and Kurdish people! The only army worth a damn is the people’s army!