The Republic of Turkey needs self-criticism
by Eren Keskin
The Republic of Turkey has reached its centennial milestone this year. The Republic has never been embraced by all segments of society, despite what the Kemalists claim. Those who opposed the Republic and its founding ideology faced constant pressure, imprisonment, and even execution. The cadres who established the Republic were all Unionists responsible for the 1915 Armenian genocide. The Republic embraced Unionism as its official ideology. This is our go-to statement when we criticize the official ideology.
What is the Republic's official identity? The Turkish and Sunni Muslim mixture.
However, our geography is characterized by various ethnic and religious identities. The Republic ignored these, wanting them to be assimilated into Turkishness. Over the past century, Kemalists and Islamists were depicted as foes despite being united on all the fundamental principles of the official ideology.
Are there any variations between the two sides of this official ideology today regarding fundamental issues like the Kurdish question, the Armenian genocide, or the military presence in Cyprus? No. Hence, this summarizes the Republic. The society squeezed by Turkishness and Islamism couldn't find an alternative. A third path couldn't emerge; the official ideology went unquestioned. The pain that underlies this Republic remains undiscussed by not only the political parties in power but also a considerable number of leftists in Turkey. Take the Armenian genocide, for instance. Even within socialist circles, it hasn't been thoroughly discussed until now.
The situation above shows that, in Turkey, those who identify as right-wing or left-wing -with a few exceptions- draw from the same source. Consider socialists, for instance. Today, both Kemalists and non-Kemalists celebrate Deniz Gezmis and similar revolutionaries. They show their support for Kemalism by embracing them. But for instance, you won't find İbrahim Kaypakkaya in any program, nor will they mention his name anywhere. The reason for İbrahim Kaypakkaya's criticism of Kemalism is because.
I wrote this article on October 22, the day of the Lice massacre. Does anyone in this region, besides Kurds and certain socialists. Everyone forgot it.
No one mentioned the militarist policies in Lice on October 22, 1993, the tragic deaths of children there, or the Dersim genocide.
Are those who oppose the bombings in Palestine able to voice their demands for Rojava today? Yesterday, they did not show it to Dersim, they did not show it to Lice, and today, they do not show it to Rojava.
Has the Eastern Reform Plan ever been discussed by those who defend the Republic with no discussion? Has any leftist circle adequately discussed the Eastern Reform Plan, which underlies all the insolvencies in the Kurdish problem?
Thus, the course of action for this 100th year should be this: To what extent do we resemble the state, and to what extent have we embraced the official ideology? We must have this discussion. By engaging certain sections of society in this discussion, we can gain insight into today's situation and its underlying problems.
* This article was first published in the Yeni Yaşam newspaper on October 25, 2023. It has been translated into English for Gercek News readers.