Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Communists Win Local Elections in North Kurdistan (Turkey) from Revolutionary Praxis

                                                           Fatih Mehmet Macoglu

Posted on April 2, 2019

Ever since the early nineteen seventies Maoist communists in the Kurdish region of Turkey have been engaged in intense class struggle against the Turkish state. There has been continuous guerrilla warfare with the communist fighters operating out of the mountains.

The whole area is under occupation by the Turkish Army. There are military fortifications and road blocks everywhere.

The Government soldiers have burnt down villages forcing people to move to the towns and cities.

The revolutionary political organisation Maoist Communist Party of North Kurdistan is prohibited and anyone suspected of belonging to it is sent to prison.

Sentences of fifteen, twenty five years or even longer are typical. And yet the struggle against the Turkish capitalist state continues.

Even so, the communists manage to engage in some open, legal activity in local municipal councils. The front organisation is called Sosyalist Meclisler Federasyonu (Federation of Socialist Assemblies).

For some years the council of the small town of Ovacik has been led by members of this organisation and many popular reforms have been enacted. For example, bus services are free and water charges are very minimal.

All council business is conducted in a completely open and transparent way. Any member of the public has the right to personally see the Mayor about any matter.

The Council has introduced measures which help small farmers to operate and get a better price for their produce. Organic farming is encouraged. It is widely known that in reality the Ovacik Council is run by communists and many visitors come to see what is going on.

On 31st. March 2019 local elections were held throughout Turkey. In the town and province of Dersim the main candidate was Fatih Mehmet Macoglu, the former mayor of Ovacik.

The SMC gained control of the Dersim Council and this victory has been greeted enthusiastically. There is a lot of unemployment in Dersim and the people are looking forward to the sort of reforms pioneered in Ovacik.

If the reforms are very radical and are taken up in other localities then there would be the danger of the central government of Muslim reactionary President Recep Tayip Erdogan intervening. This could entail imprisoning councillors. Also the communists must be careful not to become fully absorbed into the official structures and thus be rendered ineffective.

Overall the reactionary AK Party led by Erdogan did not do very well in the local council elections losing control of Istanbul and Ankara. The economic situation in Turkey is worsening and there are many sharp contradictions in Turkish society. Conditions are developing which are favourable for further advances by the communists.

This article is being written in the village of Kurecik where back in 1972 Ibrahim Kaypakkaya founded a Maoist organisation and commenced the armed struggle against the reactionary Turkish state. I have just learnt that the Maoist candidate in the council elections here has been victorious.


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