Turkey – a view from the inside: From the claim of “Democracy” to a long-term State of Emergency. (Stream B)

The politics in Turkey, after long term coalition governments, has been facing the single-party government, Justice and Development Party (AKP), for more than fifteen years. The party came to power, following the 2001 crisis by raising the popular expectations and promoting the interests of different capital fractions. Thus, the AKP government managed to implement successfully the “neoliberal austerity program” by creating an authoritarian political climate in the name of “stability” and “predictability”. However, the crisis of world capitalism in 2008, 2010 Constitutional Referendum, 2013 Gezi revolt, the corruption scandal, rising the progressive and parliamentarian Kurdish political parties and the repressive enlargement of official politics at the expense of the large part of society unlike the claim of “democratization” and “civilization” lead to lose its legitimacy and coalition wide over the society that has been concluded with the state of emergency. From the declared state of emergency following the coup attempt in 15 June 2016 and the “legalization” de facto presidential system through the referendum in April 2017 to now, the state authoritarianism getting more strengthened over whole society by transforming to the “fascist” form of the capitalist state.

Owing to analyse, we will methodologically follow the relationship between the economic policies relying upon the idea of neoliberalism and class structures in the context of the politics in Turkey and to grasp their transformations through a class perspective during the AKP period by considering the historical background. We will try to explain the complex relationships between state, society and economy with a holistic and relational approach by using a guide following questions.

  • How could be analysed the effect of economic policies, social and class relations in Turkey by comparing different analysis of the theories of class relation with reference to economic policies?
  • What kind of relationship are there between AKP’s authoritarian populism and its neoliberal economic theory or How could be define the state form from “authoritarianism” to “fascism”  during the AKP period?
  • How could the AKP continue to win such significant electoral support, despite being committed to the neoliberal reforms that have a negative impact on the living conditions of the masses and its authoritarianism over the society?
  • Some key discourses of the AKP’s identity are Islamism, nationalism and conservatism: How this ideology could be connected with the neoliberalism and how the social order could be maintained while rejecting the class politic

M.Enes Kaya is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science, University of Kassel. He received his master’s degree from the Department of Public Law, Istanbul University and works previously as a teaching assistant at the Department of Public Law, Okan University. His fields of research are the Marxist theory of  the state and sociology of law.

Dr. Melehat Kutun, completed her PhD degree at Gazi University Department of Political and Social Science and studied at University of York-UK Department of Politics as a visiting PhD student (2009-2010) and for post-Doctoral studies (2015-2016). Currently, she is a guest lecturer, as a scholar at risk, at the International Centre for Development and Decent Work, Kassel University. Her study fields are state theory, Marxism, Turkish politics and contemporary political theory.

Dr. Tolga Tören, completed his master’s degree(s) at Marmara University Department of Development Economics and Economic Growth (DDEEG) and at Labour Policies and Globalization at the University of the Witwatersrand. Having studied on critical political economy, labour studies, development studies and capitalist development process of Turkey and South Africa, he conducts his studies at the International Centre for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) of the University of Kassel as a scholar at risk.