Research Center for International Relations

Research Center for International Relations

April 7, 2010

Dr. Özgür Üşenmez

SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVES IN THE LEFT MOVEMENT IN TURKEY

As Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s struggle with the military and civilian bureaucracy in Turkey intensified, we have witnessed the fact that for the first time Turkey’s authentic bourgeoisie tries to extend its political power from government into the State itself. This created an enormous chasm in official politics since most of the taboos of yesteryear have been discussed as ordinary issues. If we set aside the patriotic and nationalist leaning CHP’s opposition, the Left in Turkey has been pretty marginal in intervening the crucial disputes. But the atrophy of the Left started to change after 2007 when Ufuk Uras was elected as the first socialist member of Parliament in decades. Its now time for Turkey’s Left to establish a credible and popular opposition to the AKP, as their neo-liberal program began to peel off the layer of legitimacy that stems from the suppressed Muslim identity. At the nexus of global economic slowdown and the rising domestic unemployment numbers, dominant party in power was losing votes. In this junction of Turkish landscape there arose myriad of opportunities for the dormant political forces to provide creative alternatives to the neo-liberal paradigm.

   

Applying a neo-Gramscian perspective to the political structure and the history of the Leftist movements, this paper tries to construct the main framework of aforementioned alternative from the perspective of the Left. But this does not foreclose the possibility that right wing groups can also use the same political vacuum for their advantage.

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Research Center for International Relations