Turkish revolution. An interview with Manuel Ochsenreiter
Natella Speranskaya: The national revolution has started in Turkey. What are the forces behind it? Who is fighting who?
Manuel Ochsenreiter: The demonstrations and riots in the Turkish cities show the deep gap within the Turkish society. But is it really a „national revolution“? Right now it seems that all the groups opposing Erdogan and also his AKP party are a quite colourful mix of ideologies and ideas. There are demonstrating Turkish nationalists as well as communists; we see flags of the labour unions and many other groups. But we shouldn´t forget that Erdogan and his party never had the support of those people who are uprising now.
One problem: We get all the information about the situation in Turkey right now via the western mainstream media stations. The western commentators and politicians are celebrating the so called „Turkish civil society“. In Germany for example almost all the established political parties gave statements that they support the demonstrators. In the mainstream media you will not find many nationalists or communists in interviews, but many westernized „activists“.
Natella Speranskaya: How is the Turkish revolution related to the geopolitical opposition of Eurasianism (Russia, Iran, Syria) and atlantism (NATO, USA, EU)?
Manuel Ochsenreiter: What we witness right now in Istanbul doesn´t seem to have a lot to do with geopolitical contents. There are of course groups and parties involved who are strongly against an atlantist agenda.
But we shouldn´t forget one important thing: The interest of the corporate media began a couple of days ago when the demonstrators in Istanbul clashed with the Turkish police. But in Turkey there are big demonstrations against Erdogan’s aggressive politics against Syria. Those protests have indeed a dominating geopolitical message. The protesters say: „We are on the wrong side of the conflict, we shouldn´t support the western-Islamistic joint venture to overthrow the Syrian government. We should support Syria against the aggressors.” They even criticised in a harsh way the NATO-membership of Turkey. But western mainstream media was not broadcasting those demonstrations, maybe because the message of the demonstrators doesn´t fit into the political guidelines.
Ironically, the west promoted the „Turkish model“- the AKP-government – as a role model for the so-called „Arab Spring“ countries. The elements are: moderate Islamism, friendship with Israel, strong ties with the western-transatlantic world. Western politicians always said: “Look to Turkey, there it functions so well!” Today we can say: Obviously it doesn´t.
Natella Speranskaya: Your prognosis of the development of events in Turkey and how it will effect the situation in Syria?
Manuel Ochsenreiter: This is hard to say. We know right now that there might be also an inner conflict within the AKP going on. The Turkish president Abdullah Gül critizised Prime Minister Erdogan in public. What does that mean for Erdogan’s authority and his political future? The guidelines for Turkish politics towards Syria are not written in Ankara, but by the NATO-“partners“. Erdogan turned Turkey within the last two years into a military base for terrorists, mercenaries, djihadists, and simple criminals, who went to Syria to fight against the regime. Turkey gives them support even when they are in Syria. Turkey supports organized theft of industrial compounds from Syria and the transport via the Turkish border. Erdogan tried a couple of times to provoke a conventional war against Syria. When we talk about all those acts of aggression against Syria we shouldn´t forget one important detail: Erdogan is not just supporting the violence against Syrian civilians but also against his own citizens. The bomb explosions in the Turkish city Reyhanli killed 51 people, and 140 more were injured. Erdogan blamed the Syrian secret service, but we know today from leaked documents of the Turkish intelligence that the Al-Qaida affiliated group „Nusra Front“ was responsible for that horrible attack, exactly those same extremists Erdogan provides support to and a safe haven.
So what might happen if Erdogan resigns? Will the Turkish politics all of a sudden change? Will it be an AKP inside change? Would a change in the Turkish government automatically mean that the state changes its geopolitical program? Would the west accept this? I deeply doubt.