GuNAL – The changing governing classes of the ‘New Turkey’

The changing governing classes of the ‘New Turkey’Antonio Gramsci was one of the most important Italian thinkers of the 20th century, and it was he who first put forward an analysis of the modern state that distinguishes between political society — which dominates directly and coercively — and civil society, where leadership is constituted by means of consent. Nicos Poulantzas was an important Greek thinker who borrowed ideas from Gramsci and argued that the stateand#39s capitalist class is too focused on individual short term profit rather than on maintaining the classand#39s power as a whole in order to simply exercise the whole state power in its own interest.

He also discussed how an inherently divisive system such as capitalism could coexist with the social stability — such as nationalism — necessary for it to reproduce itself.In Turkey, political scientists argue that the governing class always divides into a three-part coalition.

Iand#39ve spoken to my brilliant political scientist friend Dr Taylan Ko of ukurova University and he explained me that after the 1908 coup dand#39andeacutetat, power was divided and collected in the hands of the Ottoman sultan, the military and the Committee of Union and Progress as a coalition until the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Between 1923 and 1940, this coalition was reformed between the military, the bureaucracy and intellectuals in order to create a nation state and a national bourgeoisie.

Between 1940 and 1960, there was another governing class coalition, consisting of the military, the bureaucracy and the agricultural bourgeoisie, as a starting point of the bourgeois class in Turkey. Between 1960 and 1980, there was a coalition of the military, the bureaucracy and the commercial bourgeoisie, with the agricultural bourgeoisie transformed into the commercial bourgeoisie.

We can see another coalition of the military, bureaucracy and industrial bourgeoisie after the coup dand#39andeacutetat of 1980, lasting until the 2000s.After the Justice and Development Party (AKP)ame to power in 2002, we start to see the military influence over democracy and the state administration dissolving and a new form of triple coalition occurring.

The police, not only as a security force but also as a governing tool, took the position of the military. The Hizmet movement took the position of the bureaucracy and a new class named the andldquoAnatolian Tigers,andrdquo which represents conservative Anatolian capital, took the position of Istanbuland#39s industrial bourgeoisie.

Therefore the police, the Hizmet movement and the Anatolian Tigers formed the governing coalition of Turkey until the Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 graft probes against top AKP officials including four ministers.

After 2013, as far as I understand, this triple coalition is continuing with different actors, in the name of the andldquoNew Turkey.andrdquo The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has taken the position of the police as a governing element some AKP figures who we still do not know really are — including the andldquoAK trollsandrdquo — took the position of the Hizmet movement and President Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s family and close circle took the position of the Anatolian Tigers with the enormous civil society money that they control.

I call the last element TANGOs — Tayyip-affiliated NGOs — and I discussed them in my previous column. They are acting as GONGOs — government-operated NGOs — but you have to be a family member if you want to administrate a TANGO.

MIT, the AKP figures and TANGOs became the new governing classes of the andldquoNew Turkeyandrdquo after 2013. We will see whether this project will succeed, but it is obvious that none of the three elements of this new coalition has enough intellectual capacity to fulfill its duties.

Another approach is desperately needed to control and maintain harmony, but we are far away from that.Antonio Gramsci said that andldquothe challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.

andrdquo Welcome to the illusions of the andldquoNew Turkey.andrdquo.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman